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A mother’s long wait for justice

A 91-year-old woman is waiting to depose against senior Punjab police officers who allegedly abducted her son and son-in-law 14 years ago, reports Naziya Alvi.
By Naziya Alvi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 10, 2008 01:32 AM IST

Blame it on the insensitivity of our criminal justice system or its sheer tardy pace, a 91-year-old woman is waiting to depose against senior Punjab police officers who allegedly abducted her son and son-in-law 14 years ago.

“With the pace at which the trial is going I don’t hope to see the verdict in my life. At least the court should expedite recording of my testimony as a prosecution witness”, said a frustrated Amar Kaur. Her son Vinod Kumar and son-in-law Ashok Kumar had ‘disappeared’ from the custody of the Ludhiana Police along with driver Mukhtiyar Singh after being detained between February 23 and March 3, 1994. They never returned home.

The Ludhiana-based businessmen were allegedly picked up at the behest of the then SSP Sumedh Singh Saini to settle a personal dispute. Saini is now Director, Vigilance, in Punjab.

Last month, Kaur moved an application before the court of Additional Session Judge Vinod Goyal seeking early hearing. The court has fixed July 1 to decide her plea.

“My mother has become a bit impatient ever since she suffered a paralytic stroke last year. Her health has become unstable ever since,” said Ashish Kumar, Kaur’s younger son. She has also written to the Delhi High Court Chief Justice seeking early disposal of the case that did not see any development for 10 years until the Supreme Court transferred it to Delhi from Punjab.

On December 6, 2006, the court framed charges of criminal conspiracy and wrongful confinement, among others, against Saini and police officers Sukhmohinder Singh Sandhu, Paramjit Singh and Balbir Chand Tiwari. They were charged with abduction, illegal detention and disappearance of the two Ludhiana-based businessmen and their driver. However, within a few days on December 15, Saini moved the Delhi High Court for quashing of the charges. The HC will hear it on July 3.

According to the prosecution, Vinod disappeared from the custody of Ludhiana Kotwali station, along with his brother-in-law Ashok and their driver, after being detained for over a week in 1994. The CBI registered the case on April 18, 1994 on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and filed the chargesheet in May 2000.

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