Gurugram: A deputy superintendent of police probing illegal stone-mining was killed Tuesday when a truck he had signalled to stop in Haryana’s Nuh district drove into him, officials said.
Hours after the officer’s death, police said the truck’s cleaner was arrested after being shot at and injured during an encounter with them.
Tauru DSP Surendra Singh’s gunman and driver jumped aside to safety as the stone-laden dumper-truck headed towards them. Singh was rushed to hospital where doctors declared him dead, police said.
The DSP had gone to Pachgaon near Tauru to conduct raids against illegal mining in Aravalli hills when he spotted the truck at 11.50 am.
According to the FIR registered later, the policemen chased the truck in their own vehicle as it drove into a hilly patch, its driver ignoring their signal to stop.
But the truck got stuck. The crew then began dumping the stones it was carrying to avoid being ‘challaned’.
When the DSP and his colleagues approached the truck on foot, driver Mittar and cleaner Ikkar allegedly brandished country-made weapons and then deliberately drove towards them, police said.
“As the dumper started, we jumped out of the way but DSP Surendra sir was hit and they fled”, ASI Kumar said in the FIR.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar promised tough action while the Congress demanded his resignation.
“In the murder case of Tauru DSP Surendra Singh, orders have been given to take strict action. Not a single culprit will be spared,” Khattar tweeted in Hindi.
Haryana’s Director General of Police P K Agrawal visited the spot in Nuh and told reporters that a case of murder has been registered.
“I am told one suspect has been arrested after an encounter with police. The suspect has sustained a bullet injury in his leg and has been nabbed,” he said.
Police later identified the arrested man as the truck’s cleaner, who was admitted at Nuh’s Nalhar Medical College. Initial reports had suggested that the man caught was the driver.
“Other accused will be nabbed soon. All culprits involved in this will be dealt with strictly as per the law. The Haryana police will not spare any culprit,” the DGP said.
He said police teams are conducting raids to track down others involved in the killing.
The officer was recruited as an assistant sub-inspector in Haryana Police in 1994 and was to retire in three months. He lived with his family in Kurukshetra and hailed from Sarangpur village in Hisar district.
Singh is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son, according to his brother Ashok Kumar with whom he had talked over the phone a few hours earlier.
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said, “All the accused will be caught and not spared even if the police of the entire Nuh district and surrounding districts have to be engaged in this task.”
The state government said it has been taking stringent steps to check illegal mining, and set up district-level task forces.
A spokesperson said 138 FIRs have been registered in the state for illegal mining so far in the financial year 2022-23. In Nuh district alone, 23 FIRs were registered and 68 vehicles seized.
Both sand and stone are illegally quarried at places in the state.
In Delhi, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh demanded an independent probe into the “heart-wrenching incident”.
“After this shameful incident, the chief minister of the state, Manohar Lal Khattar, has no moral right to continue on his post and he should resign immediately,” Ramesh said in a statement.
Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded a judicial inquiry. “Does the chief minister not know that a mining mafia is flourishing from Yamunanagar to Nuh and Mewat? Why is the government acting like a mute spectator?” he said.
Leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly, Bhupinder Singh Hooda claimed that law and order has collapsed in the state.
“We have been repeatedly saying that common people are feeling unsafe, and recently, many MLAs have also received threats. It appears that the government is non-existent and there is no rule of law,” Hooda, a former CM, said.
“Extremely sad,” Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
“The murder of a police officer in Haryana is the result of the failure of the entire government system in Haryana. How will the public be safe where the police is not safe?” he said.
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