Life sentences to three men for murder of B.C. woman Jassi Sidhu upheld by Supreme Court of India

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

THE Supreme Court of India in New Delhi on Monday upheld the life sentences awarded to a police officer and two contract killers for murdering Jaswinder (Jassi) Kaur Sidhu, 25, of B.C. in Punjab’s Sangrur in June 2000 allegedly at the instance of the victim’s mother and uncle about 14 months after her marriage with an auto-rickshaw driver, Sukhwinder Singh of Kaoka Khosa village in Sangrur district, on April 15, 1999, the Tribune newspaper of India reported.

Last year in May, B.C. Supreme Court B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Fitch ordered the extradition of Jassi’s mother Malkit Kaur Sidhu, and her uncle Surjit Singh Badesha of Maple Ridge to India in the murder. They have appealed the extradition orders and remain in custody.

According to the Tribune newspaper, on June 8, 2000, Jassi and her husband were “waylaid and attacked by four persons with swords, hockey sticks and cricket bats. After the assault, the accused took away Jassi in a car and her body was found the next day.”

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

The newspaper added: “Eleven persons were put on trial in the case. The trial court delivered its verdict on October 21, 2005, sentencing seven accused to life term and acquitting four. Jassi’s mother Malkiat Kaur and uncle Surjeet Singh were declared proclaimed offenders. All convicts challenged the verdict in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which acquitted three of them in February 2008. The four life convicts — police officer Joginder Singh, Ashwani Kumar, Anil Kumar and Darshan Singh — had come to the SC in appeal.”

The Supreme Court of India acquitted Darshan Singh, who had been convicted on the basis of frequent telephonic calls to Jassi’s parents. “The SC ruled that this evidence was insufficient as these conversations could be due to the fact that Darshan’s daughter was married to Jassi’s maternal uncle,” the newspaper reported.

It added: “Upholding the life sentence awarded to Joginder Singh, Ashwani Kumar and Anil Kumar, the SC said the contract killers had given a statement that they received money from Jassi’s parents through a “thanedar” [inspector in charge of a police station]. The nature of injuries suffered by Jassi and Sukhwinder seemed caused by the weapons seized from the assailants and medical reports supported it.”