Punjab Police team not allowed to leave for India with accused in Jassi Sidhu case (updated again)

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha.
Photos courtesy of CBC

BY RATTAN MALL

 

UPDATE (Saturday):

 

Sukwinder (Mithu) Sidhu, husband of Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu, reacting to the delay in extraditing Jassi’s mother and uncle, Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha, because of a last-minute B.C. Court of Appeal order, told the Tribune newspaper of Chandigarh, India, this weekend: “It seems the Canadian Government prefers providing a safe haven to alleged criminals. If they are innocent, as they claim, they should have faced trial long ago.”

He expressed his satisfaction with the Punjab Police’s role in the case and said: “I request the Punjabi community in Canada to help get the stay vacated by sending petitions to the Department of Justice.”

Mithu pointed out how he had spent more than three years in jail and was still facing charges in some cases, allegedly because of false cases registered against him to intimidate him, and said: “See the power of the accused, who even managed to get the extradition stalled at the last minute. I am very upset with the Canadian Government.”

 

THE Punjab Police team that had come to Canada to take custody of B.C. residents Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha to face charges in India in connection with the brutal slaying of Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu, 25, in India’s Punjab state was informed on Wednesday that they had to wait.

Some reports claimed that the two accused were actually taken off the aircraft at the last minute.

Vancouver defence lawyer Michael Klein told The VOICE on Thursday: “There is an application that has been filed with the Court of Appeal for British Columbia and we are going to see what comes of that application. As I understand it the Minister of Justice was at least contemplating removing Mr. Badesha and Mrs. Sidhu from Canada and we have filed an application with new information with the court to attempt to deal with that situation and that’s all I can really tell you at this point in time.”

When I asked him if that was the reason Badesha and Sidhu were prevented from leaving Canada, Klein said: “That may be. I don’t know. I have no idea what’s going on from the minister’s perspective.”

The Tribune newspaper of Chandigarh in India claimed that sources told them that a Canadian court stayed the extradition after relatives of the accused moved a fresh plea claiming they might not get a free trial in India. Certain Facebook posts from India claimed that the two would be convicted immediately. Under the extradition treaty, the Indian Government gives an undertaking of a fair trial but the posts claimed otherwise, the newspaper reported.

However, it remains to be seen if the Facebook posts were deliberately put up by some individuals to create this situation or if the government or police had anything to do with it. India’s judiciary would not convict anyone without a trial, especially in a case that is being watched so closely from India to Canada.

 

Sukwinder (Mithu) Singh Sidhu and Jaswinder Kaur (Jassi) Sidhu.

Badesha and Sidhu face charges of conspiracy to murder in Jassi’s suspected honour killing in 2000. Both are to be tried in the sessions court of Sangrur, Punjab, according to Babushahi.com.

The Supreme Court of Canada had ruled unanimously earlier this month that the two could be extradited to India.

The Indian police team comprises Kanwardeep Kaur, Superintendent of Police (SP), Headquarters, Patiala; Akashdeep Singh Aulakh, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Dhuri; and Inspector Deepinder Pal Singh, according to the Tribune newspaper.

 

Background

 

ON January 6, 2012, the RCMP in a statement said: “On June 8, 2000, Jaswinder (Jassi) Kaur Sidhu, 25, a resident of Maple Ridge was murdered in Punjab, India. Her husband Sukwinder (Mithu) Singh Sidhu was also seriously injured in this attack.

“Indian authorities, specifically the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Punjab Police Service (PPS) conducted an investigation into the murder. The investigation uncovered evidence indicating Jassi Sidhu’s family were involved in the homicide from Canada. As a result of an official request from Indian authorities, Ridge Meadows Detachment initiated some investigative enquiries on behalf of the Indian investigation.

“In 2004, because of the international scope of the investigation, members of the RCMP “E” Division Serious Crime took conduct of the enquiries and worked closely with the Indian Police to pursue extradition of the Canadian citizens.

“To that end, members of the “E” Division Major Crime Unit, along with other government officials, traveled on a number of occasions to India and identified a number of new investigative avenues that were instrumental in the extradition process.

“Seven other individuals have already been convicted in India for charges including murder, attempt murder and conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the death of Jassi Sidhu and attempted murder of her husband, Mithu Sidhu. This latest development culminates an exhaustive 11-year international investigation.”

Jassi and Mithu were attacked by criminals near a village while the couple were traveling on a scooter. Mithu was badly injured while his wife was abducted. Her body was later found in a canal. Her throat had been slit.

Indian police allege that the contract killers got the order to kill Jassi from Canada shortly after the girl had spoken to her mother on a cellphone following her abduction.

Her husband recovered, but in 2004 he was jailed for alleged rape, though his family insisted that he was framed by corrupt police who evidently had been bribed by Jassi’s influential relatives in Punjab. He was finally acquitted.

Back in October, 2005, The Tribune newspaper of Punjab reported that an India judge in Sangrur had sentenced seven goons allegedly hired by the victim’s mom and uncle to life in jail. They included a head constable. Four others were acquitted.