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Two months on, police await viscera report

Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 16, 2012
First Published: 12:29 IST(16/5/2012) | Last Updated: 12:31 IST(16/5/2012)

Nearly two months after an NRI woman died at her native village, Khalyan, in Kapurthala district under mysterious circumstances, the police are still awaiting the viscera report from the Forensic Science Laboratory at Kharar. Family members of Sita Rani (37) have accused her husband, Vijay Swan (41), of murdering her for insurance money of $2.5 million (Rs 12.5 crore).

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Speaking to HT, investigating officer Ashok Kumar said, "We are yet to receive the viscera report from the laboratory. They were supposed to give it within 45 days. On May 14, I went to the laboratory, but they asked for 10 more days. Unless we get the report, we cannot initiate action."

He said the police had initially confiscated Swan's passport, but later returned it, only to take it back again. "As per the preliminary probe, it was suspected that Rani died of a heart attack, but her family has alleged murder," he added.

According to Rani's family members, she was married to Swan, who hails from Chabbewal village in Hoshiarpur district, in 2001; after marriage, she went to the US. She was poisoned during the couple's visit to Khalyan village on March 21, they alleged.

Speaking to HT on the phone from California, Rani's sister Ranjit Kaur said, "It is very unfortunate that even after more than 45 days, the report has not come. It is a clear-cut case of murder, but the police are dragging their feet. Swan had been harassing her sister for the past 11 years; he was the nominee of her (Rani's) insurance policies."

"We request the police to conduct a thorough probe and register a murder case. We also request the insurance companies not to release the amount until the probe is completed," she said.

Ranjit said Swan used to stay in California, while Rani was residing in New York with her three children. She said several police complaints were registered against Swan in the US on the charge of harassing her sister.

Ranjit said it was not possible that a woman, who was getting government disability grant from the US government, could afford three insurance policies worth $2.5 million in a span of 13 months, and that too when the couple had a strained relationship.

The victim's mother, Chanan Kaur, said, "We are hopeful that justice will be done. My daughter was poisoned for the insurance money. Her husband often used to beat her in the US."

Swan is currently staying at Chabbewal village with his children.

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