Shiv Lal Doda, 23 others get life sentence
Known as Punjab’s liquor king, Shiv Lal Doda, along with 23 others have been sentenced for life in a four-year-old brutal murder case of 27-year-old dalit Bhim Tank.
The court of District and Session Judge, Fazilka Jaspal Verma held 25 people guilty of murder and convicted them while acquitting one accused, Pardeep Kumar Happy. Another convict Vickey Pandit has been given four years jail.
The accused were tried under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (grievous hurt), 325 (causing grievous hurt) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code (IPC), SC Act and Arms Act.
Doda is said to be a close confident of SAD president Sukhbir Badal.
Going into background of the case, Bhim Tank and his friend Gurjant Singh alias Janta, both residents of Fazilka, were kidnapped by Shiv Lal Doda and his nephew Amit Doda and others of Abohar and taken to farm house owned by Doda.
It was alleged that Tank was smuggling illicit liquor in the area where Doda had his liquor shops. Tank was tortured and his arms were chopped off, following which he died, while his friend Janta was seriously injured and survived later.
Doda had close proximity with the leaders of the then ruling party, Shiromani Akali Dal, and managed to escape registration of a police case using his influence. However, Tank’s family members staged protest by blocking roads to force the police to arrest the culprits.
Many SAD leaders had reportedly met Doda in jail and assured him full support. In fact, Doda had contested 2017 state assembly polls from behind the prison walls from Abohar assembly segment.
He had also contested 2012 assembly elections finishing next to the winning candidate —Congress’ Sunil Kumar Jakhar by a difference of 9,788 votes. He had secured more than 45,000 votes, with the BJP candidate Vijay Laxmi Bhadoo losing her deposit while securing the third spot.
During the trial of the case, Janta — the main witness and his uncle turned hostile due to political pressure.
However, later, they filed an application to record their fresh statements in the court. Janta, in his statement recorded in the Court, had claimed that they were pressurized by the then ruling SAD-BJP government in the State for reportedly change their statements to save Shiv Lal Doda.
The three prime eyewitnesses, including Janta, had alleged that they were being threatened by Doda’s men following which the district police had provided them security cover. Janta was threatened by a gangster who was also booked by the police
courtesy: The Pioneer