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Foster murder: Delhi court issues summons to Kohli's wife

July 04, 2005 17:07 IST

A Delhi court on Monday issued summons to the United Kingdom-based Indian wife of Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, prime accused in the rape and murder of British teenager Hannah Foster, a month after she retracted her statements implicating him.

Accepting Kohli's plea that she was a 'crucial defence witness', Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravinder Dudeja issued summons to Shailender Kaur, who on June 4 told the court she had made certain statements in 2004 implicating her husband owing to 'coercion and atmosphere of fear' created by the British police.

Kaur had to go back to England on June 9 as she had come on a single-entry visa. The court has fixed July 18 for her examination.

Through an affidavit, Kaur had said, "I was kept in an atmosphere of absolute fright and fear to narrate all that the police told me to state. My depositions were not authored by me and I was simply asked to affix my signature even without knowing its contents."

She had also denied all portions of her statement where she gave an impression that her husband was found nervous after he came back home on the night of March 14, 2003, (day of murder) or was upset or even worried over any happening.

The court, which is examining UK's request for extraditing Kohli, also asked his counsel C S Bakhshi to produce the list of defence witnesses on the next date of hearing.

Dudeja also allowed Kohli's counsel to affix the accused's signature on two applications to be filed in the high court challenging the dismissal of two petitions seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the police and against British probe agency chief Alen Betts for 'threatening' witnesses.

The accused had demanded action against Betts for allegedly 'extorting' a confession from him immediately after his arrest and 'threatening' witnesses in the case, including his wife Shailender Kaur, not to come to India and depose in the case.

The petition against the police was for not removing his handcuffs during a visit to Patiala on January 16, 2005, to perform the last rites of his mother.

Meanwhile, alleging that co-prisoners were threatening him inside the Tihar jail, Kohli urged the magistrate to issue a direction to put him in a high-security prison.

He also complained that he was suffering from a severe liver and urinary disorder, and the jail superintendent was not providing him medical help despite repeated requests.

Kohli had escaped from England on March 16, 2003, two days after 17-year-old Foster's body was found. He was brought to Delhi from Chandigarh where he was lodged after his arrest on July 15, 2004, from Kalimpong in West Bengal.

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