AMRITSAR SAHIB, Punjab—A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a premier investigating agency of India, visited Amritsar and Gurdaspur district of Punjab to investigate the case of missing eight Hemkunt Sahib pilgrims today on directions of Nainital High Court.
Two US-based Sikhs were also among the eight pilgrims who went missing returning from Hemkunt Sahib, major Sikh shrine in the Uttrakhand state of India, in July 2018. Nainital High Court directed the CBI to investigate this matter in December 2018 after a writ petition was filed by wives of two missing pilgrims through Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer Satsimran Singh in October 2018. Lakhwinder Kaur, wife of Kirpal Singh, and Manjit Kaur, wife of Harkewal Singh, are the petitioners.
Satsimran Singh told that after recording statements of the cops of the area where they went missing, the team of CBI’s Special Crime Branch (SCB), Lucknow (Utter Pradesh) visited Mehta village of Amritsar district and Dalla village of Gurdaspur district. The team was led by CBI inspector Manoj Kumar. It recorded statements of the family members of those missing during the visit.
Apart from this, the CBI sleuths also brought some items suspected to be belonging to those missing. When shown to the families, only a jacket and a cell phone were identified by them, said the lawyer.
Missing since July 6, 2018, Harkewal Singh and Premjit Singh were citizens of the United States and lived in Fresno and Sacramento. Driver Mehnga Singh, Kirpal Singh, Jasbir Singh, and Kulbir Singh hailed from the Mehta area, while Harpal Singh and Varinder Singh from Dalla village. They went to Gurdwara Hemkunt Sahib in an SUV from Mehta and their last phone call with their family members occurred on July 6.
After the case was shifted from Gobind Ghat Police Station to it, the Special Crime Branch (SCB) of the CBI started the probe in February, 2019.
The lawyer also told that the High Court also summoned the concerned Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), but he sent the concerned station house officer (SHO) to appear in the court on his behalf. This angered the judge hearing the case. As a result, the departmental action was also taken against the SHO on the court’s order.
Notably, Family members of two United States (US) based Sikhs had also approached the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an intelligence agency of the US, seeking its intervention to have any clue of whereabouts of the missing persons.