The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday directed the Punjab police's special investigation team (SIT) probing the alleged murder of former Patiala mayor Jaspal Singh's daughter-in-law in Patiala in February to inform by November 19 as to what development it had made in the probe since September 30.
However, the court again refused the state counsel's request to grant two months' more time to the SIT for completing the probe. "The police did not inquire into the case in the beginning as any murder should have been investigated. It has to be seen now whether they are investigating the case in genuine earnest or doing just a whitewash or is it just to take further time," remarked justice Amol Rattan Singh during the hearing of the case.
Appearing for the state, additional advocate general AS Grewal submitted, "The police are investigating the matter in the right manner. We are not shielding anyone. Let the inquiry get completed. Then, if the court is not satisfied, it can hand over the inquiry to the CBI."
But the court replied, "Though at least they (police) are doing something more than the earlier police team, I am again getting an impression of soft-peddling. I want to see whether the investigation is being genuinely done."
On being questioned by the court, the state counsel answered that Jaspal Singh was using three mobiles on the day of the incident and none was in his own name. He submitted that the call details of the last five months had been collected by the SIT and it was probing the same.
At the same time, the petitioner's counsel argued, "I would vehemently oppose two months' more time to the SIT. If they have not been able to probe the case in the past 10 months, what are they going to probe now?"
The court also made it clear that there was no use of vacating the stay on the proceedings of the trial court as the SIT's probe was still under process. But the court said some progress at least was expected from the SIT and asked the state counsel to inform on the next date about the examination of call details, examination of documents submitted by Jaspal Singh and other investigation in the case.
Patiala resident Amarjit Singh Sodhi had moved the high court, seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged murder of his daughter Parampreet Kaur on February 23. An FIR was registered on February 23 at the Kotwali police station under sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
The state government had on February 25 constituted an SIT to ascertain Jaspal Singh's role in the victim's death, but he was exonerated without joining the investigation, and the challan was presented before the trial court on March 30.