Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday acquitted former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, in her daughter’s death case.
A two-judge bench of justices AB Chaudhari and Kuldip Singh set aside the Patiala CBI special court verdict awarding her five years’ imprisonment. The CBI court in 2012 had found her guilty of forceful abortion and illegal confinement of her daughter Harpreet.
Both Kaur and CBI had moved the High Court, filing appeals against the verdict.
The SAD leader’s daughter had died under mysterious circumstances in April 2000. Harpreet was rushed to hospital from her mother's home by her domestic help and a doctor, who later turned approver in the case. Doctors declared her dead on arrival, but no post-mortem was conducted.
Several witnesses had also turned hostile over the course of the trial.
Later, a probe conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on the high court’s directions, had found Bibi Jagir Kaur’s involvement.
The SAD leader had to resign as cabinet minister after her conviction, and could not contest the 2017 assembly polls since her appeal was pending before the high court.
The trial court in her case had held: “The prosecution has been able to prove that accused Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi, Paramjit Singh Raipur and Nishan Singh abducted Harpreet, who was a major, by deceitful means….”
Dhesi was Bibi’s “trusted friend” and related to Raipur, who was Bibi’s political confidant.
The trial court had also held: “A conspiracy was hatched for terminating Harpreet’s pregnancy with accused Bibi Jagir Kaur. However, because the status, political and social, of Bibi was to be safeguarded at all costs, the latter distanced herself from the process of executing the conspiracy and accused Dalwinder Kaur Dheshi, Paramjit Singh Raipur and Nishan Singh, along with approver Dr Balwinder Singh Sohal, took upon themselves to accomplish the object of conspiracy by keeping Bibi Jagir Kaur informed of the developments from time to time”.
The judgment on the appeal was reserved in October. The premier investigating agency has all along been claiming that the trial judge failed to appreciate that Harpreet’s death was homicidal, and “committed a grave error in law in not giving a finding that the death was under mysterious circumstances”.
Harpreet’s pregnancy was terminated against her will on March 20, 2000, at Kartarpur by Dhesi, Bibi's political confidant Paramjeet Singh and approver Dr Balwinder Singh Sohal.