31st August 2017
The sad case of whistleblower Ravinder Singal – an upright Panjab engineer #2
Continuing from post #1, I want to remind everyone that I DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF THESE CLAIMS AND HAVE NO CAPACITY TO VERIFY THEM.
The affidavit was at least notarised and formally self-declared. The information below is extracted from various emails that Ravinder has sent me. I cannot take them as more than ALLEGATIONS. They have no locus standi as proofs.
The only reason I’m publishing these claims and allegations is because Ravinder has agreed in writing to take full responsibility (page 1 | page 2) and because this is not private information, anyway. All this information has been reported repeatedly by Ravinder Singhal via email trails to the senior-most authorities in Panjab government and Panjab/ Supreme court/s.
If ANY of this is actually true, it paints a very deplorable picture about Panjab administration. It also shows how an upright officer can be harassed for almost his entire career. At a minimum, I’d like journalists and others who have adequate resources to investigate this thoroughly. If Ravinder is a genuine whistleblower, then he should be rewarded, not punished.
I note that at least some elements of Ravinder’s story are corroborated by independent newspaper reports. There is also a direct link (through Amarjit Sharma SDO Punjab Irrigation) between Ravinder’s affidavit and the “false” FIR lodged against him.
On the other hands, I’m unclear about the details. For instance, it is unclear why the persons alleged to have attempted to murder him were NOT directly named in his affidavit. What motivation did they have to attack Ravinder? I’ll be asking Ravinder Singhal this and other questions and will update this blog post as and when that information becomes available.
THE CLAIMS AND ALLEGATIONS NOW:
This is Ravinder Singal’s current occupational status:
“I am a Junior Engineer with Punjab Irrigation Department in limbo since 12/11/90, the day Punjab Government asked me to submit an affidavit in support of my allegations made against Corrupt Officers of Punjab Irrigation.”
This suggests that Ravinder was perhaps suspended in November 1990 after he made allegations of corruption. [Ravinder, please clarify when you read this.]
He was then “asked by Punjab Government on 16/11/1990” to provide an affidavit, which he did.
In July 1991, Secretary Vigilance Punjab directed Vigilance Bureau Punjab to investigate his charges. As Ravinder Singal wrote to a number of senior people on 22 August 2017:
Secretary Vigilance Punjab directed Vigilance Bureau Punjab in July 1991 to investigate my charges as made by me in annexed affidavit dated 03/04/91.
My would be murderers prevailed upon and still are prevailing upon Legal Remembrance Punjab in taking not an action into Supreme Court of India D.No.8916/SC/PILC/1993 dated 8/12/93, No.1699/SC/PIL/94 dated 13/9/94 and latest D.No.1063/2017 dated 17/5/17 to SSP Ferozepur. Supreme Court of India is not taking any action into my grievances/communications on the pretext that my emails aren’t digitally signed. Will you please exercise your authority/use your office to get my persecutors booked, prosecuted and punished as per law of land during my life time? I have crossed 60 and suffering from diabetes and allied ailments.
Things became really rough after that.
Balwinder Singh Rommana of Vigilance Bureau Bathinda recommended an FIR being lodged based on Ravinder Singhal’s affidavit [See this.]
According to him, one year later, on 16 November 1991 an attempt was made on his life. He even names the persons involved.
Sukhdev Singh Chahal, an Inspector in Punjab Police was one short of eliminating a terrorist to be a DSP in year 1991. A deal was struck in August 1991 to eliminate me … Since this deal was struck after my affidavit so names of Sukhdev Singh Chahal and others are not in affidavit. [See this.]
One of the persons named by Ravinder Singal – Harlabh Singh Chahal is currently (according to Ravinder Singhal, implicated in the recent corruption case by the government and is “facing his arrest”). Harlabh is now Superintending Engineer, Ferozpur. These are Ravinder’s own words:
I survived my death in a fake encounter on 16/11/91 at Bathinda [by “Sukhdev Singh Chahal DSP, one of the killer cops named in this Outlook article joined hands with my Superior and his cousin Harlabh Singh Chahal SDO [irrigation], Duty Magistrate Satish Kumar Aggarwal and Advocate Nand Lal Garg to kill me in an encounter on 16/11/91 at Bathinda and having failed in it they tried to lodge me in a Mental Asylum under Section 328 of CrPC.” “Delinquents indicted by Inspector Balwinder Singh of Vigilance Bureau Bathinda got me lifted on 16/11/91 for the purpose of my killing that night on outskirts of Bathinda. I survived being killed due to leakage of information.”] but could not survive my false implication in a case registered to give plausibility to this failed encounter. [“Complainant Mr. Amarjit Sharma SDO Punjab Irrigation who originally approached Bathinda Police against me on 16/11/91.” [Sanjeev: Amarjit Sharma is named in Ravinder Singhal’s 1990 affidavit – there seems to be at least a prima facie motive] Supreme Court asked Legal Remembrance Punjab on 08/12/93 to look into my allegations of attempted killing but Shri A S Chatha IAS prevailed upon in not taking an action as a brother of his son-in-law Mr Harlabh Singh Chahal was among my would be assassins [That brother was: Sukhdev Singh Chahal]. After 27 years of my affidavit Mr. [Harlabh] Chahal now a Superintending Engineer at Ferozepur is facing his arrest along with Mr. Gurinder Singh mentioned by you in your blog. [Sanjeev: It is unclear what motive Sukhdev Singh Chahal, Harlabh Singh Chahal Satish Kumar Aggarwal and Advocate Nand Lal Garg had in order to attempt to murder Ravinder even though they were not named in the whistleblowing affidavit. Also full details of the attempted murder are unclear. Ravinder, please clarify.]
A week after the alleged murder attempt, an alleged attempt was made to get Ravinder Singhal declared as a person of unsound mind:
District Judges Sh S K Aggarwal and Sh Vivek Puri have joined hands with Deputy Commissioner Ferozepur Sh Ravinder Singh to get me declared of unsound mind as was done earlier by Sh S K Aggarwal on 21/11/91 for me.
Having failed to kill me in an encounter on 16/11/1991 the then SHO PS Kotwali Bathinda Sukhdev Singh Chahal and SDO Harlabh Singh Chahal in league with Medical Officer of Central Jail Bathinda Dr. Sham Lal Thukral, Duty Magistrate Satish Kumar Aggarwal and my self claimed Counsel Nand Lal Garg Advocate tried to send me to Mental Hospital at Amritsar using Section 328 of CrPC read with Indian Lunacy Act 1912. Mental Health Act 1987 was not in force in 1991, it came into force only in 1993. More recently on 12/5/17 a coterie of Advocates tried to obtain a Reception Order under Mental Health Act 1987 from an obliging Magistrate at Chandigarh to lodge me in a Mental Asylum under Section 328 and others of CrPC.
It appears he was put behind bars for around 10 years after this. [Ravinder, please confirm if this is the case]
I was enlarged on bail after Mr. Justice K S Garewal, a Judge of this Hon’ble Court made an order, on16/02/2001, into a petition moved jointly by Mr. Sandeep Punchhi Advocate and Mr. Sanjay Jain AOR SCI on 28/9/2000.
In October 1993 Ravinder Singh wrote to the Chief Justice of India:
“Shri Vivek Puri, Learned Legal Remembrance & Secretary to the Government of Punjab, Sir, Kindly refer my WhatsApp messages on under subject matters and order booking and prosecution of offenders as named in my original communication dated 12/10/93 to Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India.”
The Supreme Court through its diary, asked the matter to be investigated:
“SCI D. No. 8916/SC/PILC/1993 [dated 8/12/93] is addressed to The Legal Remembrance & Secretary to the Government of Punjab and was received at SCO No. 1,2&3, Sector 17-B, Chandigarh. A Senior IAS officer of that time [Shri A S Chatha IAS] tried unsuccessfully to remove it from record to save a brother of his son-in-law from attempt to murder charges from me. “
In a separate case, on May 17, 1993, Sukhdev Singh Chahal was charged with killing an alleged “Sikh terrorist” couple in Calcutta. To me, this suggests that Ravinder’s charge against Sukhdev Singh Chahal might have some validity, given Sukhdev had resorted to the illegal use of violence at least in one case.
a formal chargesheet against five members of the Punjab police, who are scheduled to go on trial this March for the double murder. … the CBI narrowed its focus to five men— Sant Kumar Singh, then SP (operations), Bhatinda; Sukhdev Singh Chahal, DSP, Talwandi; head constables Ram Dayal and Sukh Jeevan Singh; and constable Darshan Singh. It appeared their mission was to eliminate the Sikh couple who had come to Calcutta in January that year. … Ballistic reports showed that the spent cartridges recovered from Picnic Gardens were fired from arms issued in the name of Sant Singh and others. One .38 revolver was in the possession of Sant Singh and another with DSP Chahal. The bullets, too, matched. [Killer Cops Face The Heat, Outlook magazine, 12 February 1997]
[Note: this case from the Khalistani perspective – see this]
It appears Sukhdev was awarded life imprisonment by a court in Calcutta but is currently scot free because he is considered by Panjab Police to be an “encounter specialist”
SHO PS City Ferozepur (Punjab) secured my attendance u/s 160 of CrPC for 10th July 2017 in connection with a Complaint received by him from Supreme Court of India on 17/5/17. He is not proceeding further in it as one of the accused was awarded life term by Alipore(Kolkata) Court in year 2000 but he enjoys the patronage of Punjab Police on account of his being an Encounter Specialist. [From Ravinder’s email of 23 August to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative]
Ravinder Singal has been fighting the matter through the High Court (case CRR-1173-2000)
Dear Sh Amarjit Bedi, PA, Chief Engineer Canals, Punjab, Sir, kindly refer your call at about 5:20 P.M. yesterday on under subject matters in High Court. Above case CRR-1173-2000 is next fixed for 18/11/2015 in High Court. Please seek further details from Advocate General Punjab through Legal Cell of our department. My correspondence with Secretary Irrigation and others has been sent to you by post. [Ravinder’s email dated 24 October 2015]
Ravinder’s case record removed from Advocate General’s office:
Sh Hakam Singh; Sir, kindly bring my case to personal knowledge of Chief Engineer Drainage whose staff has removed my case file from records of Advocate General Punjab. [Ravinder’s email of 24 November 2015]
On 31 December 2016 he further complained to the Supreme Court:
Keeping in view seriousness of my complaint dated 31/12/2016, the Supreme Court of India forwarded it to SSP Ferozepur on 17/5/17 after registering it at Diary number 1063/2017. The high profile accused named by me in my complaint have direct links with a Retired Chief Justice now Chairing a tribunal at New Delhi and with several Senior Advocates.
House confinement since 25 July 2017:
“I have been confined by accused in FIR number 7/2017 of PS VB Ferozepur since 25/7/17.”
Re: FIR number 7/2017 of PS VB Ferozepur – I have been kept in house arrest since 25/07/2017 by my Superiors in Punjab Irrigation Department to facilitate a Regular bail for Chief Engineer Jatinderpal Singh and six others in under subject FIR. My life is in danger at hands of Mr. Jatinderpal Singh and his accomplices including a particular IAS officer who was instrumental in stalling proceedings in Regular Enquiry number 4/91 of Vigilance Bureau Bathinda. [Sanjeev: it is unclear what this issue is about and what has Chief Engineer Jatinderpal Singh etc. got to do with the original whistleblowing affidavit]
He got an appointment to meet the Chief Justice of the Panjab High Court:
On 24 Jul 2017 09:45, “cjs chandigarh” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: With reference to your request seeking appointment with Hon’ble the Chief Justice, you were telephonically informed that the appointment may be given in this week. Hon’ble the Chief Justice has granted an appointment to you for 27.07.2017 at 04.15 PM in the Chamber of Hon’ble the Chief Justice, Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh.
Please note the aforesaid date and time fixed for your appointment.
Chief Justice’s Secretariat,
Punjab & Haryana High Court,
It appears Ravinder was not allowed to meet the Chief Justice:
Presently I was given appointment for 27/7/17 through this email by Hon’ble Chief Justice. Authenticity of email was doubted by DC Bathinda office and I was advised to remain confined to my house for fear of a foul play by my opponents in Punjab Irrigation Department. Kindly give another date for me to appear before Hon’ble Chief Justice or move against the delinquents if this email from Chief Justice’s Secretariat is not genuine.
Harlabh Singh Chahal joined as SE Irrigation at Ferozepur during the first half of August 2017. Ravinder fears a fresh attempt will be made on his life:
“This would be murderer of me [Harlabh Singh Chahal] has joined at Ferozepur in first week of this month apparently to make still a fresh attempt on my life.”
“I am under confinement in my house since 25/07/2017. SI Saudagar Singh sent by SSP Vigilance Ferozepur Shri Hargobind Singh to my residence yesterday [i.e. on 17 August 2017] failed to give me any assurance of safety of my life.”
FURTHER: “I face threat to my life from Shri Harlabh Singh Chahal S/O Shri Mann Singh Chahal an Executive Engineer with Punjab Irrigation Department facing several Vigilance Enquiries since the first got initiated by me in 1990.”
On 22 August, Ravinder wrote to Alok Kumar Verma, IPS, Director, CBI Panjab:
Twenty six years later above mentioned Harlabh Singh Chahal and Satish Kumar Aggarwal have come together at Ferozepur to jointly resist above mentioned SCI and a Punjab Vigilance Bureau enquiry. Vigilance Bureau and Ferozepur Police have had details of the crime from me after summoning me u/s 160 of CrPC but are relecutant to book either Satish Kumar Aggarwal who is now District Judge Ferozepur or Harlabh Singh Chahal who is now a Gazetted Officer of Punjab Government.
On 30 August 2017, Ravinder wrote:
“life convict Sukhdev Singh Chahal and his accomplice Harlabh Singh Chahal are stalking me in Volvo Car number PB 30A 0001”