In a sensational murder, a senior health official was on Friday, 29 March, shot dead at point-blank range at her office in Punjab's Kharar by a man who later pumped a bullet into himself, police told news agency PTI.
The official, Neha Shoree, was posted with the Drug and Food Chemical Laboratory in Kharar and dealt with licensing in Mohali and Ropar districts. According to The Indian Express, Shoree’s six-year-old niece was present with her in the office at the time of the incident.
The accused, Balwinder Singh of Morinda, entered her office and fired three bullets from his licensed revolver at Shoree at around 11.40 am, a police official said.
After firing bullets at the woman health officer, the accused tried to flee the spot on his motorcycle but was caught.
“The people nearby caught hold of him. After being held, he initially tried to threaten those who had caught hold of him by pointing his revolver towards them but when he found trapped, he fired at himself,” the official added.
Both Shoree and Balvinder were rushed to the PGIMER, Chandigarh, where while the officer was declared brought dead, Balvinder succumbed to his injuries en route the hospital, reported The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, a case of murder was registered and a probe has been initiated. The police have also recovered the revolver used in the crime, and a knife wrapped in a paper, reported the daily.
‘Accused Was Nursing a Grudge Against the Woman Health Officer’
Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused was running a chemist shop in Morinda and in 2009, Shoree, who was then posted as District Drugs Inspector in Ropar, had raided his store and had reportedly recovered intoxicant drugs from there, following which she had cancelled his drugs licence.
Though the motive of the cold blooded murder was not yet confirmed, it is believed that the accused was nursing a grudge against the woman health officer since his drugs licence was cancelled.
Speaking to The Indian Express, SSP Harcharan Singh Bhullar said, “During the 2009 raid, 35 types of tablets used by drug addicts were recovered and Balwinder could not produce any supporting document. That was when she cancelled his licence,”
The accused had got the new arms license of a .32 bore revolver a couple of months back. Even as the model code of conduct imposed for the Lok Sabha polls since 11 March required every licensed weapon to be deposited with the police station concerned, he was still possessing his arms, which he used to commit the crime.
Ensure Speedy Probe: Punjab CM
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has directed Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta to ensure speedy probe into the killing of Shorie.
The chief minister ordered prompt investigation into the matter and ensured that the accused will be given exemplary punishment.
He said no one would be allowed to interfere or intimidate any public servant in the discharge of their duties.
After the incident, opposition SAD and AAP trained guns at the Congress government in Punjab, alleging law and order had broken down and even officials were not safe inside their offices.
(Published in an arrangement with PTI)