Sopore: The late Major Avtar Singh, charged with the 1996 murder of lawyer-activist Jaleel Andrabi, continues to be alive in the Interpol notice issued by the Kashmir crime branch. Singh died five years ago after he shot himself in California where Avatar had been living in hiding.
The 2009 red corner notice continues to adorn the crime branch website at http://crimebranchjkpolice.nic.in/docs/interpol.pdf and says that “the CBI (Criminal Bureau of Investigation) has issued Red Corner Notice in respect of Avtar Singh (Major) vide file No. 2009/31617 dated 29-09-2009 under control No.A-3782/9- 2009”.
Giving the profile of the deceased, the notice states that the accused was identified as “Avtar Singh (Major)”, aged “about 45/46 years”, born at Ambala, Haryana, and resident of Ponti Jagaderi, Yamuna Nagar, Haryana. The notice also states that he was wanted by the Kashmir police in the following cases: FIR No. 139 of 1996 under sections 364, 365 and 302 RPC at police station Saddar; FIR No. 115 of 1996 under sections 364 and 109 RPC, police station Shergari, Srinagar; FIR No. 04 of 1996 under sections 364, 302 and 201 RPC, police station Rajbagh; FIR No. 05 of 1997 police station Rajbagh, Srinagar and FIR No. 29 of 1997 under sections 302 and 34 RPC, police station Saddar, Srinagar.
The International Police Organisation, or INTERPOL, is an intergovernmental organisation facilitating international police cooperation.
On June 10, 2012, Major Avtar killed his wife and two of their children in their United States home in Fresno, California, before he took his own life.
Major Avtar was wanted in the connection with the disappearance and murder of Andrabi, who went missing in March 1996 and whose body was recovered 19 days later from the river Jhelum with a shot wound to the head. A government inquiry into the murder indicted Singh and soldiers under his command.
When contacted, a senior crime branch official, who pleaded for anonymity, said the department had not handled the case, but the red corner notice was issued by the then Inspector General (IG) of crime, who is actually a nodal head of Interpol in the state.
“Kashmir police had been looking for Major Avtar in several cases and had approached the crime branch for help in tracing the missing army major. But the crime branch was not investigating the Andrabi case. As the nodal officer, Interpol, IG crime had to issue the lookout notice against the missing Major Avtar Singh, who was wanted in several cases.”
However, when asked why the notice continues to be in the public domain, the official said he had no idea.
“I have also no information on whether the case has been closed after the death of the Major,” the official said.
IG crime Alok Puri said he would look into why the notice is still public.
“As far as Interpol is concerned, they have confirmed that Major Avtar has died. Accordingly, we have informed the court, and the case stands closed,” Puri said. “Now why the notice is still in the public domain, I will look into the matter.”