Ranchi: The Jharkhand high court on Thursday took suo motu cognizance of the recent murder of a witness in a criminal case in Jamshedpur and directed the state to inform it whether it has a witness protection programme.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad took cognizance of the report of the murder of one Manpreet Pal Singh of Agrico under Sidhgora police station in Jamshedpur. Manpreet was shot dead by three persons who had entered his house and shot him on June 7.
The bench ordered the government to inform the court as to whether there is any policy for protection of witnesses in criminal cases and if it exists then what steps are being taken to protect the witnesses. The government will have to file an affidavit in the matter and the case will be heard again on June 27.
Manpreet Pal Singh was a witness to a shootout in a case registered with Sidhgora police station. He was contacted by the accused and asked not to testify in the case as a witness. Manpreet did not pay heed to the threats and ended up being shot dead in his own home. Three armed persons had stormed into Manpreet’s house where a scuffle ensued. Manpreet’s mother was also hurt in the incident. Manpreet was shot in the head, arm and leg in front of his mother. As many as eight rounds were fired.
According to news reports, Manpreet was witness to an incident in which one Gaurav was shot in March. He had also gone to court as a witness in the case. Thereafter, Manpreet, a BCom Part III student of Guru Nanak Dev University in Punjab, was threatened with dire consequences if he testified.

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