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Posted at: Jul 21, 2019, 8:40 PM; last updated: Jul 22, 2019, 10:34 AM (IST)

Attari heroin haul: Main accused dies in police custody, CM orders probe

Was diabetic; family claims negligence on part of authorities

GS Paul
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, July 21

Amritsar-based importer Gurpinder Singh Babbar, the main accused in the biggest ever drug haul in Punjab, died in police custody on Sunday. His family members have claimed that though Gurpinder was suffering from diabetes, he died due to lack of timely medical aid.

The exact cause of his death would be known only after the after the post-mortem which would be conducted tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the death of the main accused.

The Chief Minister has asked the Additional District Magistrate, Himanshu Aggarwal, to conduct a detailed probe into the death of Gurpinder Singh in hospital, according to an official spokesperson.  The ADM has been asked to ascertain all facts and circumstances of the unfortunate death of the undertrial.

The magisterial enquiry will be in addition to the post mortem, which will be conducted by a high-level Board of Doctors, and the Judicial proceedings under the CrPC to be conducted by a Judicial Magistrate.

Gurpinder (29), alias Minkle, had imported the rock salt consignment from Pakistan-based Global Impex firm allegedly in connivance with his Handwara-based Tariq Ahmed Lone from which 532 kg of suspected heroin worth Rs 2,700 crore was recovered by the Amritsar Customs wing from Integrated Check Post, Attari, on June 29.

Jail deputy superintendent Kamaljit Singh said the undertrial was not keeping well when he was admitted to the jail on July 2.

On Sunday morning at around 7 am, while brushing his teeth he vomited blood. After he was administered first aid by jail doctors, Gurpinder was shifted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital where he was declared brought dead, he added.

It has been learnt that Gurpinder was diabetic with hypertension. He was also admitted to the hospital on July 6 and was sent back to jail after four days’ of treatment.

Customs department apprehended him on June 30 and two days later sent him to 14-day judicial remand in Amritsar Central Jail.

On the other hand, his family alleged sheer negligence on the part of jail and hospital authorities led his death. He left behind his mother, wife and a two-year-old child. His brother Parminder Singh is also in judicial custody for his alleged involvement in this drug haul.

Talking to The Tribune, his mother Kawaljit Kaur held administration responsible for his son’s death. She claimed that both his sons were implicated in the case on frivolous grounds.

She added that Gurpinder was diabetic who required insulin injections twice a day. “We had been arranging injections and other requisite medicines daily with the jail authorities too. I met my son three days ago at Gharinda police station and found him to be quite well. I hold the local jail, hospital and administration responsible for my son’s death,” she said.

She added that she got a call today at around 9.30 am about the poor state of health of Gurpinder after which she rushed to GNDH. Reaching there, she was told that Gurpinder had lost life and the body has been shifted to Civil Hospital.

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