The 27-year-old son of IAS officer Sanjay Popli, who was recently arrested in an alleged graft case, died of a gunshot wound in Chandigarh on Saturday. While police said it was a case of “death by suicide”, the young lawyer Kartik Popli’s family members have alleged foul play.
Sanjay Popli was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on June 21 for allegedly demanding a bribe in exchange for clearing tenders for laying a sewerage pipeline in Punjab’s Nawanshahr.
Kartik’s grieving mother has claimed that the police had “tortured and killed” her son. She told news agency ANI, “They tortured my child and killed him. They tortured my domestic help for evidence. The entire vigilance bureau and the DSP are under pressure from CM (Bhagwant Mann). This is the way they are killing people.”
#WATCH | Chandigarh: "They tortured my child & killed him. They tortured my domestic help for evidence. Entire vigilance bureau & the DSP are under the pressure from CM. This is the way they are killing people," said mother of Kartik Popli who died of a gunshot wound in the head pic.twitter.com/EHlApYFUxM
— ANI (@ANI) June 25, 2022
The inconsolable mother had demanded justice and said, “I will move to court. My son has been killed. Bhagwant Mann should answer.”
Sanjay Popli was sent to four-day police remand after his arrest. Earlier in the day, the vigilance team reached his residence at Sector 11 in Chandigarh for further probe as the bureaucrat’s remand was coming to an end.
A relative of the Popli family alleged that the vigilance team asked Sanjay Popli to sign some documents and threatened him that it “will not be good for his son” if he refused. “Vigilance team asked Sanjay Popli to sign on something lest it won’t be good for his son. They locked him in room and took his son upstairs. We were standing downstairs and after sometime we heard sound of gun. Vigilance people murdered him,” relative Anu Preet Kular told ANI.
According to Chandigarh’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kuldeep Singh Chahal, when police arrived at the bureaucrat’s residence, they heard a gunshot. “Vigilance team reached here (IAS officer Sanjay Popli’s house) for inquiry and heard a gunshot. After verification, they realised his son has shot himself with his licensed gun. He was shifted to hospital,” Chahal said, adding that preliminary probe shows that Kartik “has shot himself”.
Denying allegations of foul play by family, Punjab Vigilance Bureau Deputy Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar said while it was a matter to be investigated, the allegations were “baseless”. “It is a matter of investigation. But these allegations are baseless. We just went there to make a recovery of items. We didn’t even step inside the house. We only learnt about the incident later on,” he added.
According to the vigilance department, 12 kg gold, 3 kg silver, four iPhones, one Samsung Fold phone and two Samsung smartwatches were recovered from the storeroom of the IAS officer’s residence. The 12 kg gold includes nine bricks (each weighing 1 kg), 49 gold biscuits and 12 gold coins, while 3 kg silver includes three bricks (each weighing 1 kg) and 18 coins (each weighing 10 gm).
The official spokesperson of the vigilance bureau said based on a statement by Sanjay Popli, a team raided his residence and recovered the gold, silver and mobile phones concealed in the storeroom.
(with inputs from agencies)