Baba Tarsem Singh Murder Case | Uttarakhand High Court Rejects Ex-IAS Officer Harbans S. Chugh's FIR Quashing Plea

Sparsh Upadhyay

15 May 2024 9:00 AM GMT

  • Baba Tarsem Singh Murder Case | Uttarakhand High Court Rejects Ex-IAS Officer Harbans S. Chughs FIR Quashing Plea

    The Uttarakhand High Court has rejected an FIR quashing cum arrest stay plea filed by retired IAS officer Harbans Singh Chugh in connection with the murder case of Baba Tarsem Singh, head of Sri Nanakmatta Sahib Gurdwara Dera Kar Seva.Denying him the relief, a bench of Justice Rakesh Thapliyal observed that the law is very well settled and that no interim protection can be given until and...

    The Uttarakhand High Court has rejected an FIR quashing cum arrest stay plea filed by retired IAS officer Harbans Singh Chugh in connection with the murder case of Baba Tarsem Singh, head of Sri Nanakmatta Sahib Gurdwara Dera Kar Seva.

    Denying him the relief, a bench of Justice Rakesh Thapliyal observed that the law is very well settled and that no interim protection can be given until and unless a case is made out for quashing the First Information Report.

    The Court added that if such protection is given during the investigation, then to "some extent it may interfere with the investigation".

    The Court observed:

    "...the investigation is in progress and is still going on and during investigation, the CDR as well as CCTV footage are also being verified and furthermore for the investigation the custodial interrogation is necessary, particularly when the incident was caused by the two shooters who came from the State of Punjab and stayed in Sarai for 10 days without informing to the police authorities by the society which was headed by the petitioner being the President, therefore, at this stage, any interference with the investigation is unwarranted".

    Importantly, the Court specifically rejected the arguments supporting the petitioner's status and antecedents as grounds for quashing the FIR as the single judge observed that the status of the petitioner that he was a senior bureaucrat who held key posts in the States of UP and Uttarakhand "had no relevance at all when the investigating agency was conducting the investigation which is their statutory powers in respect of a crime which appears to be very serious".

    Baba Tarsem Singh was killed in the early hours of the morning on March 28, 2024, within the premises of Uttarakhand's Nanakmatta Sahib Gurdwara by two motorcycle-borne assailants. The said Gurdwara is a revered Sikh shrine located on the Rudrapur-Tanakpur route in Udham Singh Nagar district of the state.

    President of Gurudwara Prabandhak Samiti/Ex-IAS Officer Harbansh Singh Chugh was among five people named in the FIR for the murder of Baba Tarsem Singh.

    The FIR alleges that Baba Tarsem Singh used to prevent Dera Kar Seva's property from being vandalized. Dr. Chugh and two others were allegedly unhappy with this.

    Chugh moved the Court seeking relief wherein his counsel (Sr Counsel Arvind Vashisth) contended that as per the contents of the FIR, no prima facie offence is made against the petitioner. Therefore, the impugned FIR must be quashed, qua the petitioner.

    Before the Court, it was strongly emphasised that Chugh's career as a public servant in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand culminated in his retirement as an IAS Officer with an untarnished record. Post-retirement, he continued to serve in RERA and was elected society's president.

    It was also submitted that he implemented various reformative measures upon assuming office, which led to resentment from certain individuals. It was asserted that these individuals, motivated by malice, falsely implicated Chugh in the Murder case. Consequently, it was urged that the FIR against Chugh should be dismissed.

    On the other hand, opposing his FIR quashing plea, the counsel for the State argued that it has come in the investigation that the two dreaded criminals, responsible for a daylight shooting of the late Baba Tarsem Singh, had stayed at a Sarai in Shri Nanakmatta Sahib for nearly 10 days before the incident and the said place is under the supervision and overall control of the petitioner.

    It was submitted that the investigating officer is actively probing the purpose of their stay at Sarai, their associates, and any connections they may have had during this period.

    The Government advocate also submitted that the general convention is that any outsider who stays for more than two days must be reported to the police.

    Even as per the Rules of Sarai, it was submitted that no person is allowed to stay for more than 3 days. Therefore, all these aspects of why those two shooters were permitted to stay in Sarai for 10 days, which was under the supervision and control of the petitioner, are part of the investigation. Therefore, it was urged that no relief be granted at this stage to Chugh.

    Finding substance in the contention of the government advocate, the Court refused to grant any relief to the petitioner and dismissed his petition

    Case title - Harbans Singh Chugh vs. State of Uttarakhand and others

    Case citation:

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