14 years on, aged mother’s wait for justice continues

June 30th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

By Kanu Sarda
New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) For 91-year-old Amar Kaur, getting justice for her son and son-in-law who went missing from police custody 14 years ago is a continuous struggle. Kaur is desperately waiting to record her statement as a prosecution witness before a court hearing her case that aims to find out what really happened to her son Vinod Kumar and son-in-law Ashok Kumar 14 years ago.

The two went missing from the custody of Ludhiana police along with driver Mukhtiyar Singh after being detained between Feb 23 and March 3, 1994. And they never returned home.

Kaur told IANS with moist eyes: “Mujhe nahi lagta mei zyada din jee paungi (I don’t think I will live for very long).”

With folded hands, she added: “Agar aap kuch madad kar sakte ho to kar do (Please help us if you can to get us justice).”

The two Ludhiana-based businessmen were allegedly picked up at the behest of the then senior superintendent of police (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 Sessions Judge Vinod Goel seeking early hearing. The court has now fixed July 1 to hear her plea.

Kaur has also approached the Delhi High Court, seeking early disposal of the case that did not seem to be progressing for 10 years until the Supreme Court transferred it to Delhi from Punjab in 2004.

“I want justice for my children so that my soul can rest in peace after my death,” Kaur said.

She urged that the court at least record her statement so that her role in the case gets over.

On Dec 6, 2006, the court framed charges of criminal conspiracy and wrongful confinement against Saini and other police officers Sukh Mohinder Singh Sandhu, Paramjit Singh and Balbir Chand Tiwari.

They were accused of abduction, illegal detention and the disappearance of the two three men.

The court while framing charges observed that there was evidence to show that Saini wanted Vinod Kumar and his family members to cooperate with him in a personal dispute. When Vinod refused, he was threatened by Saini.

“Saini being the SSP of Ludhiana was at the helm of affairs of the police administration and is supposed to have had influence over police personnel working in the entire district of Ludhiana, including S.S. Sandhu, Paramjit Singh and B.C. Tiwari,” Goel had said.

“The court feels that a strong prima facie case is made out against the accused that they had entered into a criminal conspiracy in pursuance of which Paramjit Singh confined Ashish Kumar, Pramod Kumar and others in illegal detention and also abducted Vinod Kumar, Ashok Kumar and Mukhtiyar Singh on March 15, 1994 with the intention to murder them,” he said in his order.

But Saini later moved the Delhi High Court for quashing the charges. The case is scheduled for hearing 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 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered the case on April 18, 1994 on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and filed a chargesheet in May 2000.

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