( Punjab Police SP Swaran Singh Khanna has been honoured by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ( RCMP ) for solving the long-drawn Jassi Honour Killing case. We are reproducing the Exclusive Report -cum-interview of Swaran Singh Khanna published by babushahi.com on September 19, 2017 - Editor )
By Raju William, Associate Editor , Babushahi.com
Ludhiana : Though the Jassi honour killing case has been widely reported even in the international media but not many might know about the role of Investigating Officer (IO) Swaran Singh, now posted as Superintendent of Police (Investigation), at Bathinda, who withstood pressure, threats with unwavering resolve for several years till the court convicted all the accused.
“It was a case that tested my nerves as a cop but the faith of my superiors, support of family and the thought of bringing justice to an innocent girl helped me conduct the investigation with a single-minded purpose over the years,” said the then Punjab Police Inspector Swaran Singh, the key investigator who cracked the internationally publicized murder case of the Canada-based NRI girl Jaswinder Kaur Jassi that took place in 2000.
The painstaking investigation spread over several years by Swaran Singh resulted in life imprisonment of the accused contract killers. The case hit headlines again recently after Supreme Court of Canada gave go-ahead to extradition of Malkiat Kaur and Surjit Singh Badesha, the mother and maternal uncle of the deceased Jassi.
Both masterminded this honour killing as Jassi had dared to marry Sukhwinder Singh Mithu, a small-time auto-rickshaw driver against their wishes.
This is the first case of contract killing in Punjab in which the accused have been ordered to be extradited.
Though the case has been widely reported even in the international media but not many would know about the crucial role of Swaran Singh, now posted as Superintendent of Police (Investigation), at Bathinda, who withstood pressure, threats with unwavering resolve for several years till the court convicted all the accused.
The credit must go to him for preparing the ground for the extradition proceedings. “I got undated warrants against the accused Malkiat Kaur and Badesha from the court of JMIC, Malerkotla after both were nominated in the case and declared proclaimed offenders,” he told babushahi.com in an exclusive chat.
“The credit in fact must go to my superiors especially Inspector General of Police, Jatinder Singh Aulakh, the then Senior Superintendent of Police, Sangrur district who entrusted the investigation of the case to me. He told me to deal with the case on merit without succumbing to any pressure and ensure that all accused were penalized,” added Swaran Singh who was at that time, posted as Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station, Dhuri in Sangrur district.
He went about investigating the case in a professional manner since the case was first registered at the police station, Amargarh in Sangrur district. The assignment became all the more challenging as the case was handed to him from other police station. The involvement of professional killers who included a fellow Punjab cop and the reach of the murder’s masterminds entailed security concerns for himself.
He used to get abusive midnight threat calls from abroad. The callers spoke in Punjabi in different voices. He was pressurized to disassociate from the case or face consequences. The callers have still not been identified. He even got an FIR lodged at the city police station, Sangrur.
“I always responded to callers saying if the police can get the accused extradited, you all will also be traced and brought to Punjab to face trial. But I must say I became concerned for the security of my family which I finally shifted from my native place,” he recalled.
Before the conviction of the hired killers, he also faced veiled threats to pressurize him at the behest of the Inspector rank cop who was among the accused. He also got a Daily Dairy Report (DDR) lodged at the Sangrur police station in this regard.
Most of the pressure he faced was during pendency of the court case in which the accused went for appeals at Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court which upheld the verdict of the lower district court. “One can imagine the pressure when 50-70 persons from the defence side and a battery of lawyers appearing at almost every court appearance. There were top names among the defence lawyers in the HC and SC,” he said.
For preparing such a water-tight case which hardly left any scope for the accused to get bail and resulted in their conviction, Swaran Singh was rewarded with an Appreciation Letter and Rs 31,000 cash by Captain Amarinder Singh during his previous term as the Chief Minister. The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Sangrur, Inderjit Singh Walia had ordered conviction of the accused in 2005.
What got him going despite all these highly trying circumstances?
“I was guided all the time by an overwhelming feeling to ensure justice to the deceased girl who simply loved and desired to marry boy of her choice. As I got involved deeper into the investigation, I felt as if she was like my daughter,” he summed up.
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