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CRPF officer to hang for getting son beheaded

Mehtab Singh

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MOGA (PUNJAB): In what would rank as the rarest of rare cases of paternal cruelty, a CRPF officer was on Wednesday sentenced to the gallows by a lower court in Punjab for organizing the beheading of his 20-year-old son whom he saw as an impediment in his affairs with women.

Deputy commandant Harjinder Singh of the CRPF's 153 battalion, along with three others, was sentenced to death by additional district and sessions judge BS Sandhu for the murder of Baghel Singh, a polytechnic student whose headless body was found from an irrigation canal about three days after he was reported missing by his friends on January 21, 2003.

Harjinder Singh clearly had no use for his family. He had deserted his wife and refused to pay for his son's education, forcing her to leave her young school-going son to stay with friends in a rented room and take up a teacher's job in Nagaland in 1993.

Not content with driving out his wife and kid, whom he saw as hurdles in his affairs, the CRPF officer regularly harassed the wife to provide him girls to feed his sexual appetite even as he started living with his maidservant Summandeep Kaur, who was named as an accomplice in the case but acquitted for lack of evidence.

When Baghel and his mother Charanjit Kaur approached CRPF brass to have them persuade her wayward husband to meet the son's education expenses totaling Rs 5,000 a month, little did they realise it would drive the man to murder.

On the evening of January 20, 2003, when Baghel's roommate Manandeep Singh came back to the rented digs, he found Baghel missing and four men drinking in the room. He reported the incident to the principal of Lala Lajpat Rai Polytechnic institute at Ajitwal in Moga district next morning and a police case was registered soon after.

The FIR in the case said when Baghel returned to his room after attending his grandfather's cremation in Kapurthala, the three hired assassins pounced on him, thrashed him and took him away in a car.

A headless body surfaced about three days later in the Abohar canal.

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