Friday, April 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

HC notice to Bibi, Punjab Govt
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 27 — Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Bibi Jagir Kaur, the State of Punjab and the Director-General of Police were today issued notices for May 12 by the Punjab and Haryana High Court here on a petition seeking registration of a first information report in Harpreet Kaur’s alleged murder case.

Pronouncing the orders in open court, Mr Justice R.L. Anand of the High Court observed: ‘‘From the allegations in the petition, I am of the view that notice should also go to Bibi Jagir Kaur’’.

Mr Justice Anand also directed counsel for the petitioner — Lawyers for Human Rights — to furnish Bibi Jagir Kaur’s address. The SGPC chief, it may be recalled, had not been made a party in the petition. Her daughter, Harpreet Kaur, had died under mysterious circumstances a few days ago.

Today, at the very onset, Mr Justice Anand enquired from the petitioner’s counsel as to why Bibi Jagir Kaur had not been made a party even though allegations had been levelled against her. Replying to the query, counsel stated that the same was not required at the current stage.

Stressing upon the need to hand over the investigation to the CBI, the petitioner had earlier stated that ‘‘the Chief Minister himself had attended the cremation ceremony and had thus effectively stopped any proper investigation into the crime’’.

Describing Punjab Police as ‘‘mindless tool in the hands of the politicians’’, the petitioner had stated that there was no hope for an independent probe.

Claiming Harpreet Kaur, in all probability, had been killed, the petitioner had also stated that the ‘‘boy’’ and his family too were facing threat and required protection. Referring to newspaper reports, the petitioner had added that there were ‘‘sufficient details of suspected murder by Bibi Jagir Kaur and her people’’.


Law must and will prevail

‘‘Law must and will prevail, this is my assurance,’’ observed Mr Justice Anand while taking up the petition filed by a human rights organisation for registering an FIR in Harpreet’s case.

The observation was made after counsel for the petitioner claimed that the ‘‘powerful and influential’’ generally managed to go scot-free. ‘‘No one is above law’’. Mr Justice Anand added.

Asking the press to show restrain while reporting the case, Mr Justice Anand said the matter was sensitive and the media should not go in for cheap popularity. ‘‘The deceased has been defamed,’’ the Judge added.


IG Atri to probe death of Harpreet
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, April 27 — The Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has ordered a high-level inquiry into the mysterious death of Bibi Jagir Kaur’s daughter, Harpreet. The inquiry will be conducted by the IG (Crime), Mr K.K. Atri.

This information was given by the Punjab Director-General of Police (DGP), Mr Sarbjit Singh, while talking to mediapersons here today. Mr Sarbjit Singh was in the city to participate in a function organised by the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, at Guru Nanak Public School.

Interestingly, the DGP also informed that the Chief Minister had earlier ordered a confidential inquiry into the incident by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Kapurthala. He, however, refrained from divulging the details of this inquiry and said: “Now a senior official is conducting an inquiry and the truth will be revealed after its completion.”

No timeframe, however, had been set for the completion of the inquiry, he said. On why an FIR had not been registered in the case so far in spite of the incriminating evidence revealed in various media reports, the DGP said the rules demanded that a formal complaint be made to the police that a cognisable offence had been committed.

“However, we have not received any such complaint. Even media reports so far have only raised doubts and no proof about any foul play leading to Harpreet’s death has been given,” he explained.

The Finance Minister and General Secretary of the SAD Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was present in the city today, when asked about the political fallout of the controversy arising out of the mysterious death of Bibi Jagir Kaur’s daughter said that senior party leaders would deliberate shortly to discuss the issue.

He said that as far as the state government was concerned, no attempt was being made to hide anything.


Was she a minor?
From K.S. Ahluwalia and agencies

BEGOWAL (Punjab), April 27 — SGPC President Jagir Kaur’s daughter Harpreet Kaur, who died in mysterious circumstances on April 21, was today declared a “minor” on the occasion of her bhog ceremony here today.

The stage secretary, Mr Jagir Singh, paying tributes to Harpreet Kaur on the occasion, said she was a bright student having secured 79 per cent marks in matriculation and 69 per cent in plus two. She had got admission in the medical stream in Birmingham University in the UK and was to join college in July this year.

He said the deceased was born in 1982 and was to complete 18 on July 2 this year.

The Chief Minister and his wife, Mr Raghbir Singh, Ms Upinderjit Kaur, Mr Swaran Singh Phillaur, Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, all Akali ministers, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Jalandhar Range IG, G.S. Aujla, Deputy Commissioner V.K. Singh and SSP Iqbal Singh were present at the bhog.

No prominent leader of the BJP attended the ceremony.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal remained closeted with Bibi Jagir Kaur for 25 minutes.

Mr Badal, along with his wife, arrived in a chopper. The meeting took place amidst reports that Harpreet was allegedly tortured to death for having relations with Kamaljit Singh of the same village.

Mr Badal, when encountered by mediapersons after the bhog ceremony, first refused to reply any question. When asked about the allegations levelled against the Bibi that her daughter was tortured to death Mr Badal said: “this is not the proper occasion to reply such questions.” He said he would perform his duty as Chief Minister and also as President of the Akali Dal and left the venue.

Mr Jagir Singh, President, Nagar Panchayat, Begowal, who conducted the stage, told the congregation that “Badal sabib is so grieved that he is unable to address the gathering.”

Tributes were paid to the deceased by Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Joginder Singh Vedanti and Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Bibi, in a voice choked, said she was moved by the love and affection shown by the sangat. She announced a nursing college in the memory of Harpreet Kaur at the village from her own resources.

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