Punjab: Arrested IAS officer’s son dies of bullet wound, cops say suicide; family alleges foul play

IAS officer Sanjay Popli’s son Kartik Popli allegedly shot himself on Saturday with his father’s gun while a team of vigilance officers were at their home for a second round of inquiry

Screen grab showing IAS officer Sanjay Popli’s wife speaking to reporters in Chandigarh on Saturday. ANI

A 27-year-old son of IAS officer Sanjay Popli, currently under arrest in a graft case, died of bullet wounds in Chandigarh on Saturday. While the police have claimed that it is a case of suicide, his family has alleged foul play.

Chandigarh’s senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal said after verifying things, “Son of Punjab IAS officer allegedly shot self. Vigilance team reached here (IAS Sanjay Popli’s house) for enquiry and heard a gunshot. After verification, they realised that his son had shot himself with his licensed gun. He was shifted to hospital,” said Chahal. Further investigations are on, the SSP said.

Dismissing the allegations Ajay Kumar, DSP, Punjab Vigilance Bureau, said it is a matter of investigation. “But these allegations are baseless. We just went there to recover a few items. We didn’t even step inside the house. We only learnt about the incident later on,” he said.

What we know

The Punjab Vigilance Bureau had arrested IAS officer Sanjay Popli in a graft case on 21 June for allegedly demanding bribe in exchange of clearing tenders for laying a sewerage pipeline in Nawanshahr. He allegedly demanded one per cent commission as bribe for clearing the tenders. Following his arrest, he was sent to a four-day police remand.

Later they had gone to his house on Saturday for another round of enquiry when the incident took place.

Sanjay Popli’s wife said her husband Sanjay was due to appear before the court and a vigilance team had visited their house on Saturday. “The vigilance people took Kartik Popli (the son) upstairs and when I went up they were mentally torturing my son,” she claimed, while adding “even our mobile phones were snatched”.

An inconsolable Sanjay Popli’s wife told reporters, “The vigilance officials were pressuring us and they were even torturing my domestic help to give false statements in support of the case they have registered. My 27-year-old son is gone. He was a brilliant lawyer. They have snatched him”.

“To build a false case, they snatched my son…” said Sanjay Popli’s wife showing blood spots of his son on her hands.

“I want justice. I will move court,” said the wailing woman, repeatedly crying “my son has been killed”. “(Punjab chief minister) Bhagwant Mann should answer,” she said.

A 51-year-old woman, a neighbour and family friend of Popli family, alleged that “Sanjay Popli was being pressured by the vigilance that he should agree to the allegations levelled by them”.

“Kartik Popli too was detained for hours,” said the woman.

With input from agencies

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