Over six years on, Patiala gynaecologist Dr Ravdeep Kaur and hired killer Manjit Singh have been convicted for the murder of then Patiala additional sessions judge Vijay Singh.
Declaring the verdict here on Wednesday, UT additional district and sessions judge VP Sirohi said the quantum of punishment would be pronounced on Friday.
The charge was that Manjit, a raagi (hymn singer), was paid Rs 5 lakh by Dr Kaur to kill Vijay Singh, who had allegedly refused to divorce his wife and marry Dr Kaur, informed special public prosecutor Vijay Singla.
The lawyer said the incriminating evidence in the case were the call details, which showed that Dr Kaur and Manjit were in constant touch from June 2005 to October 13, 2005, the day of murder. "After the murder, Manjit gave Dr Kaur a call and told her that 'kaam ho gaya (the work is done)'.
He then went to her house and collected the Rs 4.5 lakh of the supari amount that was pending. The police recovered the murder weapon -- a sword, besides the kurta-pyjama of Manjit that had Vijay Singh's blood all over it," added Singla.
The case had been shifted to the UT after the Patiala Bar Association resolved not to defend the two accused. In judicial custody, Dr Kaur and Manjit are lodged in the UT's Burail Jail since.
As the judge pronounced his verdict, Dr Kaur kept sitting with her head down. But Manjit seemed unfazed. He was seen twirling his moustache as the police brought him out of the court.
THE PLOT AND THE STRIKE
It was in May 2005 that Dr Kaur met Manjit, who had come to hold prayers at Amar Hospital run by Dr Kaur in Patiala. They stayed in touch and Dr Kaur lured Manjit by helping him financially.
She even promised to marry him and migrate to Canada, provided he "avenged her suffering inflicted by judge Vijay Singh". For this, she promised Manjit Rs 5 lakh, of which she paid Rs 50,000 in advance.
The prosecution lawyer told HT that she also helped Manjit to buy a motorcycle, a mini-truck, and got his house renovated.
On October 13, 2005, Manjit struck as judge Vijay Singh was out on his usual post-dinner walk at the Polo Grounds. The time was around 10.30pm and the judge was talking on his mobile phone to a friend in Germany, Tina Martin. Just then, Manjit, known to be an expert in martial art, attacked from behind with a sword, breaking Vijay Singh's skull with the first blow. He inflicted 25 blows to make sure the judge was seriously injured, and then fled. Vijay Singh succumbed to the injuries.
Manjit threw the sword in the Narwana branch of the Bhakra canal system, and then went to Kaur's house and collected the remaining Rs 4.5 lakh for the act.
The police got to know of the crime when the judge's friend, who had heard his shrieks on the mobile phone, informed his family. On October 18, 2005, the police arrested Dr Kaur and Manjit and recovered Rs 4.5 lakh from Manjit besides the sword. The police further claimed that the two had confessed to the crime and Dr Kaur allegedly revealed that she had a relationship with Vijay Singh for a long time and got him killed after he refused to marry her.
On February 22, 2006, after lawyers of Patiala refused to represent the accused, the case was transferred to the UT district courts on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on an application that said the lawyers' refusal was causing avoidable delay in the case.