“Even after 25 years, the Indian criminal justice system has failed to deliver and our long fight seem to have ended in vain and yielded little result,” said Canada-based Parkash Kaur, 97, Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s younger sister, whose son-in-law’s brother Kuljit Singh Dhatt was abducted and killed in a fake encounter by Punjab Police cops in 1989.
“My brother didn’t sacrifice his life so that people occupy high positions and fail to deliver justice to people of this country. Our struggle doesn’t seem to end as we might have to fight another battle for getting appropriate punishment for the guilty,” she told HT.
Kuljit’s brother Harbhajan Singh, who has been contesting the case in courts on behalf of his (Harbhajan’s) mother-in-law Parkash Kaur, said the family had so far spent more than
1 crore and hired a battery of lawyers, right from the lower court to the Supreme Court, for justice, but at the end, the family felt exasperated and disappointed.
“In the Supreme Court, the matter was pending for more than seven years, where we had to attend nearly 40 hearings. The judicial commission set up by the apex court took more than three years and 75 hearings to decide the matter.
In the Punjab and Haryana high court, the matter was kept pending for more than 14 years as the accused cops took more than 70 adjournments. In the trial court, it was pending for more than two years and still there is no justice,” said Harbhajan.
He said then SHO Jaspal Singh was already undergoing life sentence in the Jaswant Singh Khalra murder case under Section 364 (abduction with motive of murder) of the Indian Penal Code. However, for the same charge, the court on Friday handed him just five-year imprisonment.
Of the convicted cops, SPS Basra was a commandant in the CRPF before he was inducted into Punjab Police in early 1980s by then DGP JF Ribeiro.
He is the recipient of three President’s gallantry awards. He retired in October last as deputy inspector general (DIG) and is settled in Mohali.
Basra is said to have arrested Dr Sohan Singh, a Khalistan ideologue, from Nepal in 1993. Remained SP (operations) in Ropar from 1990 to 1995.
Then SHO Jaspal Singh was international footballer coached by Olympian Dharam Singh, Kuljit Dhatt’s father-in-law.
Winner of President’s gallantry awards. Convicted in Jaswant Singh Khalra murder case in 2005. Conviction upheld by HC in 2007.
Jaspal’s name didn’t figure in original complaint in the Dhatt case but was included after HL Randev (retired sessions judge) Commission report.
Of the co-accused, SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu had committed suicide in May 1997, while former SHO Sardul Singh died in 2008.