Akali sarpanch shot dead

Manuke village sarpanch Beant Singh, 28, owing allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), was shot dead by two assailants at his village under the Nihal Singh Wala police station here late Wednesday night.

Police said the victim had links with gangsters and was out on bail after spending nearly two years in jail in connection with a murder case.

Beant was going to market with a foe-turned-friend, Kuldeep Singh Keepa, when the assailants opened fire at him from a terrace, leaving him dead on the spot. Police said that a 12-bore rifle was used in the crime and bullets pierced through his neck and back. Sources said Keepa had tricked Beant to accompany him and the attack was planned.

On the statement of victim’s mother Surinder Pal Kaur, the police have booked three people, including Keepa, for murder. The other two have been identified as Rajinder Kumar alias Goga of Manuke village and Raman Kumar of Badhni Kalan village.

They have been booked under Sections 302 (murder), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and 25-27-54-59 of the Arms Act. The body was sent to the Nihal Singh Wala civil hospital for the post-mortem.

Surinder in her complaint said she was following her son when the incident took place and was a witness to the crime. “Some villagers were jealous of my son as he had become a sarpanch at a young age, so they killed him,” she said.

Villagers said that Beant, who was a close aide of senior SAD leader Tota Singh, had a rivalry with Keepa and Rajinder. However, a couple of days ago Beant patched up with Keepa. “Keepa took Beant along on the pretext of going to market for mobile recharge. On the way, Rajinder and Raman fired at Beant from a terrace,” villagers said on condition of anonymity.

Police said Beant had links with gangsters and was facing at least three cases, including those of murder and attempt to murder. He had been acquitted in two other cases and was a proclaimed offender in an attempt-to-murder case registered in 2009 at Mehna police station.
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