Amid protests over the Sidhu Moosewala’s murder, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday announced setting up a judicial commission headed by a sitting high court judge to probe the killing of the famous Punjabi singer, even as police said it has got several important leads in the case.
The Punjab Police also said it has rounded up some suspects, including five in Uttarakhand, in connection with the case after a CCTV footage emerged on social media which shows the Moosewala’a vehicle being followed just before he was shot dead.
The chief minister’s announcement came after Moosewala’s father Balkaur Singh urged him to order a probe by a sitting high court judge into the killing of his son.
Expressing shock over the killing, Mann said, “The Punjab government will request the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court to get the case inquired into by a sitting judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court.”
The state government will extend full cooperation to this panel, including roping in any of the central agencies such as the National Investigation Agency (NIA), he said.
Facing severe criticism from opposition parties over the pruning of the singer’s security cover, the chief minister said he has already ordered an inquiry at the highest level to look into the matter and fix responsibility.
All the aspects of security reduction of the late singer are also under scrutiny and responsibility of lapse, if any, will be definitely fixed, said Mann.
Moosewala, who had fought the recent assembly elections in Punjab on a Congress ticket from Mansa, was shot dead on Sunday by unidentified assailants in Punjab’s Mansa district, a day after the state government curtailed his security cover.
As a manhunt has been launched to nab the culprits, the police are also investigating role of some people who could be seen in a CCTV footage procured from a ‘dhaba’ in Mansa where they were having meal on Sunday, said sources.
Another CCTV footage has emerged on social media which shows that the vehicle of Moosewala was being followed just before bullets were sprayed on him, leading to his death, the sources said.
Talking to reporters in Mansa, Inspector General of Police (Faridkot range) Pradeep Yadav said police have got important leads in connection with the murder of Moosewala.
We have got some important leads and some people have been rounded up, said Yadav when asked about the CCTV footage of ‘dhaba’.
Earlier, police detained five men in Dehradun in connection with the killing of the Punjabi singer.
They were picked up from the Shimla bypass area and taken to Punjab for interrogation, a police official said on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, an abandoned car has been recovered in Moga, said police, with investigators suspecting that the assailants might have fled in this vehicle after committing the murder.
Earlier in the morning, a protest broke out outside the Mansa civil hospital with villagers and supporters of Moosewala demanding action against those who were behind the killing.
The protesters, who were mostly villagers of the area, also raised slogans against the AAP government for curtailing his security cover. Several markets in Mansa remained shut on Monday.
Later in the day, the post-mortem of Moosewala’s body was conducted at the civil hospital in Mansa after his family agreed to it following the acceptance of its request of a probe by a sitting high court judge.
The body has been kept at the mortuary of the civil hospital while his last rites will be performed on Tuesday, said the officials.
Meanwhile, scores of mourners, including villagers, noted singers such as Gurdas Mann, and political leaders, including Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, and MLA Sukhjinder Randhawa gathered at Moosewala’s residence in Mansa to condole his death.
Several Punjabi actors and singers, including Diljit Dosanjh, have paid tributes to Moosewala.
The Punjab Youth Congress in Chandigarh held a protest while other rival parties stepped up an attack on the AAP government, demanding dismissal of the chief minister.
While Warring led a candle march in Mansa, the Punjab Youth Congress workers took out a march in Chandigarh.
Different delegations of the SAD and the BJP met Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit, seeking dismissal of the AAP-led government.
According to an FIR, Moosewala’s father Balkaur Singh followed him with guards when he did not take his security men with him and witnessed the 28-year-old falling to a hail of bullets.
Singh, who took Moosewala and two others to a civil hospital on Sunday after the attack, said in his police complaint that his son would get threats to his life from gangsters for extortion.
The Punjab Police had termed the incident as a case of an inter-gang rivalry and said that the Lawrence Bishnoi gang was behind the murder of Moosewala.
The Moosewala’s father wrote a letter to CM Mann, demanding a probe by a sitting judge of the high court and also sought a public apology from Punjab police chief V K Bhawra for linking his son’s murder with a gangwar.
Later, Bhawra had to issue a clarification to say that he never called the slain Punjabi singer a gangster or affiliated with gangsters.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)