Certain Punjab Congress leaders on Wednesday demanded a judicial inquiry into the alleged preferential treatment given in jail to former Punjab cabinet minister Jagir Kaur and other convicts in the Harpreet murder case and sought their transfer to a jail outside the state.
A delegation of Congress leaders called on Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and submitted a memorandum in this regard. The delegation included Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Avtar Singh Brar, Surinderpal Singh Sibia and Mangat Rai Bansal.
The memorandum alleged that after the death of Harpreet Kaur on April 20, 2000, at Phagwara, the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal tried to shield Bibi Jagir Kaur and ensured that no FIR was registered, nor any post mortem was allowed to be conducted.
It also alleged that Badal personally supervised the hurried funeral of Harpreet Kaur in the early hours of April 21, 2000, and made sure that all evidence including her remains were immersed in river Beas there and then.
"The complicity and indulgence of Badal in the said case is well-known and so is the proximity with the guilty, Bibi Jagir Kaur. Thereafter, Badal kept promoting the political interests of Bibi Jagir Kaur during the 12- year trial by appointing her to high positions of power," the memorandum charged.
She was made president of SGPC during 2003-2004, chairperson of Kapurthala district planning committee during 2007-2012 and was nominated to fight assembly elections in 2002, 2007 and 2012, besides being inducted as cabinet minister in the present government, a post she had to quit after her conviction.
"The abject surrender of the law and order machinery of Punjab was complete after Bibi Jagir Kaur and others were convicted. The Punjab Police, jail authorities, minister for jails, medical officers have been bending backwards to ensure comfort and VIP treatment to the guilty," the memorandum said.
All major newspapers and electronic media had completely exposed this "undermining of judicial authority by giving such preferential treatment to the guilty," it added.
"Keeping in view the deep rooted interest and connivance of chief minister Badal in shielding, protecting and giving VIP treatment to the guilty, we urge you to set up a high-level judicial inquiry, preferably by a sitting judge of the high court to look into gross constitutional lapses committed in the state of Punjab," the memorandum said.
The Congress leaders also demanded that Bibi Jagir Kaur and the other guilty be shifted to Chandigarh Jail pending such inquiry in the interest of justice.