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Police officer ‘threatens’ lawyer in Khalra case


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http://www.tribuneindia.com/2005/20050325/punjab1.htm#4

Police officer ‘threatens’ lawyer in Khalra case

Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 24

Prosecution lawyer and human rights activist Brijinder Singh Sodhi today claimed that he had been threatened with dire consequences by a police officer who is an accused in the Jaswant Singh Khalra disappearance case in the court premises here.

Mr Sodhi claimed that the incident occurred when he was going to enter the court at around 11.30 a.m. He said a police officer, Surinderpal Singh, who was the Station House Officer of Sarhali in Tarn Taran when Khalra was kidnapped in 1995, threatened him saying “earlier we might have broken your legs but now we will have to kill youâ€.

The lawyer said this blatant threat came after a number of threatening calls received by him on the telephone, including one today morning. He said he had been receiving threatening calls on his mobile number since the last one week. Mr Sodhi said the calls were made from numbers which were not listed and that the callers appeared to be drunk while threatening him with dire consequences in case he persisted in appearing for the prosecution in the case.

Mr Sodhi said he would be approaching the court of Additional Session Judge S.P. Bangarh, who is hearing the Khalra case, tomorrow with all relevant details. He said he would also be approaching the President, Prime Minister and other senior officials stating that if anything happened to him or his family in the near future, the accused police officials in the Khalra case would be responsible for it. He said he had not approached the local police as he did not have any faith in it.

Defence lawyer Satnam Singh Kler when contacted on the issue, said there was very little chance of such an incident happening today. He said this was because all the lawyers had entered the court twice today in the morning and afternoon sessions and no untoward incident occurred during this period. “Moreover in case Mr Sodhi received any threat from one of the accused he should have informed the court or usâ€. Mr Kler said this was the first time that such an allegation was being made as no such incident had occurred in the three year period since the case was being heard in Patiala. He, however, said in case such an incident had occurred it was unfortunate.

Meanwhile the cross examination of CBI Superintendent of Police K.S. Joshi ended today. During the cross examination, the CBI officer, who had investigated the case in the beginning, admitted that the CBI had discarded Special Police Officer (SPO) Kuldeep Singh as a witness in the case. The CBI officer admitted that this was done due to the various flip flops committed by Kuldeep Singh after he gave a statement to the CBI indicting various police officials of murdering Khalra. The defence lawyers also questioned the time of two and a half years taken by Kuldeep to come forward to depose in the case.

The prosecution, meanwhile, filed an application asking that Kikar Singh, an earlier witness who had turned hostile, be summoned before the court.

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