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Punjab minister convicted in daughter's abortion case

Last updated on: March 30, 2012 17:52 IST

Punjab minister Jagir Kaur was on Friday convicted for conspiring in forcible abduction, kidnapping and wrongful confinement in connection with the killing of her daughter Harpreet Kaur 12 years ago, but was acquitted of the murder charge.

Kaur, a former President of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee, was awarded five years imprisonment and also fined Rs 5,000 by the special Central Bureau of Investigation court.

Kaur, who was present in the court of special CBI judge Balbir Singh, was immediately taken into judicial custody for being sent to the Central Jail at Patiala. She broke down immediately after her sentence was announced.

Three others Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi, Paramjit Singh Raipur and Nishan Singh were also convicted under section 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy). The three were fined Rs 5,000 each.

Another accused Satya Devi was acquitted of all charges while another accused Sanjiv Kumar died during the trial.

The case was registered in 2000, and it was investigated by the CBI to ensure that Jagir Kaur could not influence the investigation. The case took several twists and turn with several witnesses turning hostile during the course of prosecution. 

Harpreet's body was mysteriously was cremated in a hurry a few days after the incident. 

The complainant, Kamaljit Singh, claimed that he was Harpreet's husband and the father of her still-born child. Owing to political pressure, the police refused to register a complaint in this regard forcing Kamaljit to approach the Punjab and Haryana high court. On June 9, 2000, the HC directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the matter. 

After a preliminary inquiry the state police registered a First Information Report in the matter, under various sections of the IPC against Jagir Kaur on October 3, 2000. She has also been found guilty of kidnapping and illegal confinement.

Harpeet was murdered on April 20, 2000 when Jagir Kaur was president of the powerful Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee and was forced to resign after allegations of her involvement.

Jagir maintained that Harpreet died en route to a hospital after a severe bout of food poisoning. No post-mortem had been conducted and many witnesses have turned hostile.

The case was handed to the CBI in 2010. But Kamaljit also turned hostile after that. He said that the video of the wedding that he had submitted was a ceremony staged on camera to pressure Jagir; he said he did not actually marry Harpreet.

Kamaljit Singh recently wrote a letter to the CM asking for protection as he fears for his life.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi