A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mohali, Punjab, has sentenced three former police officials to life imprisonment for a 1992 fake encounter in which three youths were killed. The three convicts are Inspector Dharam Singh, ASI Surinder Singh, and ASI Gurdev Singh.

The case dates back to May 1992, when three youths — Harjit Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, and Jaspinder Singh — were shown as killed in a police encounter. However, the father of Harjit Singh filed a writ petition before the Punjab & Haryana High Court, alleging that his son had been abducted by the police and killed in a fake encounter.

In 1998, the CBI registered a case in the matter and found that Harjit Singh was abducted and killed on May 12, 1992, along with two other persons in a fake encounter by a police party headed by SI Dharam Singh, the then SHO of Lopoke police station. The CBI also found that the bodies of the three youths were not handed over to their families and were cremated by the police as unclaimed.

The CBI presented a chargesheet against nine Punjab Police officials in the case, but five of them died during the trial and one was declared a proclaimed offender. The remaining three convicts, Dharam Singh, Surinder Singh, and Gurdev Singh, were found guilty of conspiracy, murder, and fabrication of records, and were sentenced to life imprisonment on September 14, 2023.

The verdict has been welcomed by the families of the victims, who have been waiting for justice for over three decades. It is a reminder that no one is above the law, and that even those who are entrusted to uphold the law will be held accountable for their crimes.