Neha had saved killer’s number on her phone

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The Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Punjab Government to probe the Neha Shoree murder case has found the name and number of the killer saved on her phone. This has perplexed the investigators, who are now probing why the number of a controversial chemist was saved on the phone of a zonal licensing authority. Neha was shot dead by Balwinder Singh, who earlier ran a chemist shop at Morinda, on March 29 in her office at Kharar. Relatives of the victim suspected the hand of the drug mafia in the killing. The government formed a SIT, headed by IGP, Ropar Range, V Neeraja, and comprising Mohali SSP HS Bhullar, Ropar SSP Swapan Sharma, Ropar Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Jagwinder Singh Grewal and Assistant Drug Controller (under the Punjab Health Department) Sanjeev Garg.

A SIT member said on condition of anonymity that a scrutiny of the call details of Balwinder and Neha revealed that they did not contact each other on the phone. However, it would be premature to draw any conclusion in this regard as the details of calls made through WhatsApp cannot be traced if the callers delete it from their phone set. Moreover, Balwinder’s phone was yet to be opened as it was locked by a password, said sources. The sources said they were trying to verify whether she was in the habit of keeping the numbers of chemists on her phone or whether it was an isolated case. They said they needed to probe why the phone number of a person who had lost his business 10 years ago due to action taken by her was saved by her.

Another SIT member said to ascertain Balwinder’s motive behind killing Neha, the investigating agencies had been asked to find the locations of Balwinder and Neha during the past at least one year. Besides, the SIT has asked for records pertaining to the arms licence issued to the killer and the drug licences and challans issued by Neha during the past two years.

The sources said after his licence to run the chemist shop was cancelled in 2009, Balwinder tried to get it twice, but his case was rejected both times.

The SIT has also learnt that another chemist in Kurali, a relative of Balwinder, was issued a challan in 2017-18 by Neha.