Saturday, November 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bibi fails to convince CBI
To be interrogated again next week

Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 24—The President of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who appeared before the CBI for interrogation for the second time today, failed to satisfy the queries posed to her by the investigating officials, agency sources said.

“The SGPC chief, the prime accused in the murder of her daughter Harpreet Kaur, was interrogated today as her deposition on Friday last did not tally with the findings of the investigations. However, she failed to give satisfactory reply to their queries and the contradictions remain even today,” a senior CBI official told The Tribune.

The CBI official said,“Bibi Jagir Kaur would be summoned again next week for further questioning. The date has not yet, been fixed.”

However, the SGPC chief,talking to select groups of newspersons ,said,“Whatever they asked, I answered to the best of my knowledge and within the legal purview.”

“I will appear before the investigating officers whenever called for,” she said.

The SGPC chief was interrogated by the CBI for more than three hours at the Special Investigation Unit in the Capital.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said,“The allegations against her were baseless and unsubstantiated. The truth will ultimately come out.”

The CBI official said the final decision on challenging the bail granted to Bibi Jagir Kaur by the Punjab and Haryana High Court would be taken next week.

“The legal department is examing the bail order and a decision would be next week,” the CBI official said.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “The option of moving the higher court for quashing the FIR has been left open. No decision has been taken on challenging the changed FIR.”

“We will wait till the CBI files the charge sheet and decide on the next course of action. The CBI may discharge her after interrogation....we don’t want to close the option now,” her counsel said.

The sources said the preliminary investigation had shown that the involvement of the SGPC chief was made out in all 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 cout had agreed that a prima facie case under Sections 213 and 302 of the IPC was made out against the SGPC chief and the judge had stated that the manner in which the body of Harpreet was consigned to the 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 had held that custodial interrogation was certainly required and if the accused was given bail before arrest, it would hamper the investigation beyond repair.

Apart from Section 302 of the IPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur has been charged under 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 the chain of incidents 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 post-mortem examination or an inquiry by the local police raised suspicion about the actual cause of her death. 


Does not rule out fighting poll
From R. Suryamurthy and Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 24 - The SGPC President , Bibi Jagir Kaur, today did not rule out the possibility of her standing in the commitee's poll scheduled for next week.

“The Political Affairs Committee of the SAD has asked the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to name the party’s candidate for the poll. I will abide by his decision,” Bibi Jagir Kaur told a select group of newspersons, after her three-hour-long interrogation by the CBI here today.

When asked whether she would contest the poll, if named by Mr Badal, she said ,“I would abide by his decision as a disciplined worker of the party.”

The Punjab Finance Minister, Captain Kanwaljit Singh,and the Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, have openly demanded that Bibi Jagir Kaur should step down from office as she had been charged with murder by the CBI.

The SGPC chief said that “no one raised the question of her resignation during the PAC meeting.”

“This is my personal matter. If the general House had demanded my resignation for any act done while holding public office,I would have conceded to it,” Bibi Jagir Kaur said.

“If there was an allegation of corruption or inefficiency in carrying out the duties as SGPC chief, I would have resigned,” she asserted.

“I assumed this office after fighting election,” the SGPC chief said and did not elaborate.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said the PAC was meeting on November 29, a day before the SGPC election, at the behest of Mr Badal. The Punjab Chief Minister would announce the party’s candidate on that day and everybody would rally around the nominee.

Reports said the names of the veteran Akali leaders, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr Sucha Singh Langah and Mr Mal Singh Ghuman,had figured in political circles for the SGPC post.

Media reports said Mr Badal in a way defended Bibi Jagir Kaur when he was asked about the criminal case registered against her.

He said almost all Akali leaders had faced criminal cases some stage of their political career.

When newspersons pointed out that those were registered for political reasons, Mr Badal did not respond.


Dhindsa now mum on Bibi’s removal
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Nov 24 — The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers and a Shiromani Akali Dal’s Political Affairs Committee member Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, seems to have softened towards SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur.

He chose to keep mum on the issue of her replacement today although he was among the three senior SAD leaders who had gone public saying that she should have resigned after the registration of a case against by the CBI in connection with the death of her daughter, Harpreet.

Mr Dhindsa who had stated that Bibi Jagir Kaur had “needlessly dragged our party into this controversy,” and that she would be “replaced at the November 22 meeting of the PAC,” showed a lot of restraint today and chose his words carefully in what could be damage-control exercise.

In a chat with TNS at the Circuit House here, he said: “The matter is pending with Mr Badal so I cannot say anything at the moment.” On his earlier statement regarding the replacement of the Bibi, he said: “You see, I cannot say anything now.”

Mr Dhindsa said there was no plan to discontinue the Rs 13,000 crore subsidy on fertilisers. The proposed policy would be “farmer and manufacturer friendly.”

He said the government was for more gas-run fertiliser plants, which were more cost effective than those run on Naptha. “We are even setting up joint manufacturing units in countries like Oman, where gas is available in abundance and at cheaper rates. A memorandum with the Oman Government has been signed,” Mr Dhindsa said.

He said there was no shortage of fertilisers in the country and the government had no plan to import these. He said National Fertiliser Limited at Nangal would be expanded and revitalised soon.

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