Thursday, November 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bibi gets bail 
Order to appear before CBI
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Nov 15 — Mr Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted anticipatory bail to SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur who has been booked by the CBI under Sections 302, 313, and 344 of the IPC for the murder of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur.

While handing down his 11-page order this evening, Mr Justice Nijjar directed Bibi to appear before the Investigating Officer at New Delhi on November 17 at 10 am. The investigating agency was at liberty to move the court for appropriate orders, if the petitioner failed to join the investigation, as directed above.

“The application for anticipatory bail is allowed. In the event of arrest, the arresting officer will release the petitioner on bail subject to his satisfaction. Having examined the matter, prima facie, I find that there is no material before this court to justify custodial interrogation of the petitioner”, Mr Justice Nijjar added.

Relying on the Supreme Court’s judgement in Anil Sharma’s case, Mr Justice Nijjar said: “I am of the considered opinion that the courts have to follow the old adage that however high a person may be, he or she is not above the law. At the same time the courts cannot lose sight of the fact that when allegations are made out of political vendetta, the same should not be brushed aside. Merely because a person is active in politics and holds a high rank, should not far the prosecution of that person. The courts have a balance between public interest and individual liberty,” observed Mr Justice Nijjar and quoted the Supreme Court in the Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia case.

“ In cases , where recoveries are to be made from the accused person, the investigating agency may well be justified asking for custodial interrogation. In the present case, all that would be achieved by putting the petitioner behind bars is that she is to be confronted with statements made by the witnesses, “Mr Justice Nijjar observed further adding that “For this, it is not necessary that the petitioner shall be sent to custody. These statements can well be put to her even when she is on bail”.

Mr Justice Nijjar observed: “On repeatedly being asked by the court, why custody of the petitioner is required, the only answer given is that custodial interrogation is qualitatively more elicitation oriented. I am prima facie, of the view that whatever investigation is to be done , can be ensured by directing the petitioner to join investigation as and when required.”

Suitable conditions can always be imposed by the arresting officer to ensure that investigation is not hampered. The only allegation against the petitioner is that she has been pressurising some witnesses to change their statements made under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C, the Judge said.

Mr KS Randhawa counsel for the complainant, vehemently argued that the petitioner was the main accused and was interested in hushing the matter. “having persued the entire file of the case, I do not see any justification for sending the petitioner into custody on the ground that she is now also accused under Section 302 of the IPC” observed Mr Justice Nijjar.



Spotted in Phagwara
From J.S. Gandham

PHAGWARA, Nov 15 — SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur was spotted here this afternoon, having a roadside chat with her supporter and Youth Akali Dal leader Gurjit Singh Khalsa and circle Akali Dal President Gurmukh Singh.

When accosted by some mediapersons, she refused to say much. However, looking gratified over her interim bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court earlier in the day, she said she believed in God and the rule of law.

When told that the Punjab Finance Minister and senior SAD leader, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, had said she should have resigned voluntarily as SGPC chief, she shot back, “Batherey lokin boldeyai”. (So many people say so many things). She refused to comment on her daughter’s controversial” death.

It may be recalled that the “Jasdil Mansion” is a crucial link in the case.



CBI to question Bibi tomorrow
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 15 — The Central Bureau of Investigation is likely to question Bibi Jagir Kaur, prime accused in the alleged murder of her daughter Harpreet Kaur, in the Capital on Friday.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, who has been granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has been asked to appear before the Special Investigation Cell of the agency on Friday, official CBI sources said.

The CBI sources said “the SGPC chief has been directed to be present before the special investigation cell at the CBI headquarters in the Capital on November 17, in connection with the case.”

The interrogation of the SGPC chief is likely to throw light into the “death’ of Harpreet under mysterious circumstances on April 20, allegedly in the captivity of her mother.

Ms Jagir Kaur will appear before the CBI in the morning and will be questioned by a team of senior officials of the Cell, sources said.

The CBI sources said the custodial interrogation of the SGPC chief was “very vital” to reach the bottom of the case.

The agency in its FIR had named seven person including Bibi Jagir Kaur, for involvement in the mysterious death of Harpreet. But in the amended FIR on November 13, the CBI charged them for murder of the 19-year-old girl. All the other six accused are in custody.

The sources said preliminary investigation had shown the involvement of the SGPC chief in all the incidents leading to the death of her daughter. These incidents include the shifting of Harpreet to Phagwara on March 19, her detention in Jasdil Mansion from March 19 to April 8, bringing her back to the mansion on April 10 and her subsequent death on the night of April 20.

Even the trial court had agreed that a prima facie case under Section 213 and 302 IPC was made out against the SGPC chief and the Judge had stated that the manner in which the body of Harpreet Kaur was consigned to flames without getting a post-mortem examination and lifting of the last remains of the girl from the graveyard removed all possible doubts regarding her involvement.

The Special CBI judge held that custodial interrogation was certainly required and if the accused is given bail before arrest, it will hamper investigation beyond repair.

The agency sources also maintained that “the custodial interrogation of Bibi Jagir Kaur is necessary to bring out the truth (in the case)”.

Apart from Section 302 of IPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur has been charged with section 120-B read with Sections 304, 344, 313, and 201 of the IPC.

The CBI said the SGPC chief was the chief conspirator and every chain of incident leading to the death of Harpreet took place at her behest.

Harpreet was reported by her family members to have died after a “serious bout of food poisoning.” However, the fact that her body was cremated without any postmortem examination or an inquiry by the local police raised suspicion about the actual cause of her death.

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