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Cops ' bully' driver of PM- visit victim.

THE POLICE have been accused of looking for a " scapegoat" to fix the responsibility for the death of Ambala resident Sumit Verma during the Prime Minister's visit to Chandigarh.

The family of the 32- year- old victim said the police have been harassing the driver of the car in which Verma was taken to the hospital. He was " picked up" from Ambala and was forced to " enact the sequence" leading to Verma's death.

PM Manmohan Singh was visiting the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research ( PGIMER) for the annual convocation on November 3. The car carrying Verma was not allowed to reach the emergency facility for about oneand- a- half hours for security reasons.

Verma died as a result of the delay.

Verma's relative Dheeraj said personnel from the Intelligence Bureau in Chandigarh took the driver, Sukhwinder Singh Billa, with them from Ambala to Chandigarh and recorded his statement again. The driver was later handed over to the Union Territory Police for reconstruction of events.

Sources said Billa was made to drive his car from Inderjit Charitable Hospital -- a Sector 35- based private clinic where Verma was initially taken -- to the PGIMER via the route he had taken on the fateful day.

The entire exercise was conducted under the supervision of superintendent of police ( operation) Rajinder Singh Ghuman.

" We were on our way to Hardwar for performing Sumit's last rites. Billa called me up and said the police had taken him with them without revealing anything to him. The driver is in depression ever since," he said.

Dheeraj said the policemen directed Billa to drive the car on the same route and they claimed that he took around 30- 31 minutes to reach the PGIMER emergency from the private hospital.

The police also claimed that the doctors at the private clinic had said they had referred him to the PGIMER since he was vomiting blood. No ambulance was available at the time, a police officer said.

" Why do they want to reconstruct the sequence of events? How can they rebuild the same chaos and elaborate security?" Dheeraj said. He said the police had been looking for a scapegoat ever since Verma's death. " We are blaming the police for obstructing our passage.

But, they seem to be trying to prove that the death was inevitable," Dheeraj said.

" Sukhwinder is not a criminal.

But he is being harassed for helping us. He has refused to talk to anyone and is pleading that he should not be subjected to further police questioning or harassment," Dheeraj said.

In his defence, Ghuman said they were attempting to ascertain if there was any fault on the part of the police.

" We want to meet the Prime Minister and tell him that this is what the police mean by sensitivity towards people," Dheeraj said.

The PM, in a letter to Verma's family, had said he had instructed the security agencies to be " more sensitive" towards the public while protecting VVIPs.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Nov 9, 2009
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