M A I N   N E W S

Kohli remanded in police custody till August 5
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 28
A Kharar court today sent Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, prime suspect in the rape and murder of British teenager Hannah Foster, to eight days of police remand for interrogation in a forged passport case registered here.

Kohli who was brought to Punjab last night from Kalimpong, was produced before Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate Poonam Ratti this morning amidst tight security. Despite repeated requests by the SDJM, no lawyer present at the court volunteered to represent Kohli. Kohli, who declared in the court that he had faith in the Punjab police, will now be brought to the SDJMís court on August 5, at 2 pm.

Dressed in a red T-shirt and brown pants, Kohli was brought to the court in handcuffs but looked completely relaxed. The Magistrate asked the police if they had permission to handcuff Kohli to which they said yes. While the prosecutionís case was argued by two Superintendents of Police, Mr S.S. Grewal, SP (D), Ropar and Mr Pritpal Singh Virk, SP(D) Patiala, there was no one present in the court to represent Kohliís case.

The SDJM asked Kohli if he had a lawyer to represent him. Taken aback, Kohli said that he had just come to Punjab yesterday and since he had lived abroad for many years, he had no knowledge of the system of law here. However, he said that he had faith in the Punjab police.

Insisting that Kohli be represented, the Magistrate called for a lawyer from the free legal aid cell. When no one was found, the Magistrate asked if any one wanted to volunteer as his counsel. But when no one came forward, the Magistrate asked a lawyer, Rajbans Kaur, present in the court room to sign as Kohliís defence counsel. She, however, neither opposed the police remand nor argued in Kohliís favour.

The prosecution told the court that Kohli was wanted in a crime committed in the UK but had managed to dodge the Indian police for the past one and half years.

During this period, he travelled across the country, staying at Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Darjeeling, Goa, Patna, Kolkata etc. We want to know who helped him while he was on the run. He has made a joke of the policing system of the country and we want to ensure that no such criminal should repeat this, said Mr Pritpal Singh Virk, in the court. The prosecution also said that Kohli had during his 10-day stay at Mohali from March 18 to 28, 2003, managed to procure a fake passport. He was, as a result required to be interrogated in that connection also.

Kohli was alone in the court the without any family or friends. His brothers, Ishtpreet Singh and Amritpal Singh, had been arrested yesterday for harbouring and supporting him while he was on the run from the investigative agencies. The two were produced in the same court this afternoon and sent in police custody till July 31 on charges of aiding Kohli with money and information.

Kohli along with his parents, brothers and six others are accused in a fake passport case registered at Mohali. 

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