The family of an Indian national who went missing in regional Victoria near Shepperton wants to know more about the circumstances leading to his death.
27-year-old Simranjeet Singh Bhullar came to Australia about six years ago on a student visa.
He was last seen leaving a Cobram address at about 9 pm on April 30.
On 3 May, the police located his car ditched in a paddock near Katamatite, a rural township in Victoria.
- Simranjeet Singh Bhullar came to Australia as a student nearly six years ago.
- Police sought public assistance to locate Mr Bhullar who had been missing from April 30.
- His car was found at a paddock near Katamatite, Victoria on 3 May.
Two days ago, Police located a body on a rural property in Katamatite which is believed to be of Mr Bhullar.
Nishan Singh Bhullar, the father of the deceased has expressed shock after hearing that his son’s body was found ‘near his abandoned car’.
“Police did not provide us any substantial information. All we know is that he was missing and now after about a month they told us that he has been found dead in Katamatite,” he said in an interview with SBS Punjabi.
Mr Bhullar also criticised what he claims ‘poor search operation and negligence’ by the Victoria Police.
“Such a shame that it took Police about a month to find his body that was lying just two kilometres away from his car that they’d located on 3 May,” he said.
“At that time, we were informed that his car had a minor accident. Police told us they used search dogs, helicopters, horses and other means to comb a 20km area around where he went missing.”
When contacted by SBS Punjabi, a spokesperson for Victoria Police said there were “no suspicious circumstances” surrounding this death.
“Police will prepare a report for the Coroner after a body was located on a rural property in Katamatite,” said a spokesperson.
“At this stage the body has not been formally identified however it is believed to be that of Simranjeet Singh Bhullar who went missing on 3 May.”
One of the Melbourne-based relatives of Mr Bhullar who wants to be known by his last name Singh, claimed that he along with few other friends went to Katamatite in the first week of May.
“We wanted to run a search operation in the area where his car was found. But we were stopped by the police. We are aware that a few weeks ago some locals had run a similar campaign to find one of their missing family members. We’re sorry for the Bhullar family that we couldn’t be of help,” he said.
“Simranjeet’s parents are distraught and deserve clarification on the circumstances surrounding his death.”
While speaking over the phone from the northern state of Punjab in India, Mr Bhullar demanded authorities to investigate his son’s death from ‘all possible angles’.
“We deserve answers. He was our only son, our only hope. Ever since he disappeared, we requested Police to take it seriously but they had a theory that he might have been hiding somewhere. Now we are left with nothing,” said Mr Bhullar.
“They should also investigate the code and conduct of the police investigations in this case.”
To address these family concerns, a spokesperson for Victoria Police made the following comments:
“In relation to the search for the reported missing person, police are satisfied they acted in accordance with their duties and conducted a thorough and extensive search in line with the investigative and operational response.
“As this matter is currently before the Coroner it wouldn’t be appropriate to provide further comment.”
Meanwhile, Melbourne-based family members of the deceased have initiated efforts to repatriate his remains to India.
“His body is still with the coroner. Once they are done with their investigations, we will get in touch with the Indian High Commission to send his mortal remains back to his native place,” said the family spokesperson.
Source: SBS News