When a teary-eyed 92-year-old widow in a wheelchair deposed in a city court, she took a small but crucial step forward in her 16-year-long battle against a senior Punjab cop who allegedly killed her financier son and a relative in 1994.
Amar Kaur, dressed in a peach coloured suit, appeared before Additional Sessions Judge Poonam Chaudhary and questioned how prime accused Sumedh Singh Saini – the then senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Ludhiana, now posted in Punjab vigilance department – was continuing in office despite serious charges against him.
Kaur’s statement last week was recorded after she hit out at the delaying tactic of the accused’s counsel.
“I am 92 years old and can die any moment, which will obviously be good news for the accused as one of the prime witnesses will be no more and the case will become easy for them,” she said.
“Even after cases against him (Saini), he is now chief director of the state vigilance bureau, Punjab,” she said.
“The trial has started, but nobody is questioning his position. We have written letters to ministers, but nothing is being done,” said Kaur, adding that she had sent letters to the Punjab government and the central government but to no avail.
The next hearing will be May 26.
Apart from Saini, the other accused are Sukhmohinder Singh Sandhu, the then superintendent of police (SP), now retired; Paramjit Singh, the then station house officer (SHO), now a deputy superintendent of police (DSP); and Balbir Chand Tiwari, the then SHO, now retired.
According to Kaur, while Saini was posted as SSP of Ludhiana he had a dispute with her financier son Vinod Kumar and his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar when they refused to help him over an issue.
As a result, Saini allegedly implicated Vinod and Ashok Kumar in a case of financial misappropriation in 1994, she alleged.
Vinod and Ashok were picked up along with their driver and illegally detained by police, after which they disappeared, she alleged.
Kaur alleged that the two were murdered.
The case was later transferred from Punjab to a special court in Delhi after she expressed apprehension that Saini might try to influence the trial in that state.
Kaur along with her other son, Ashish Kumar, have been running from pillar to post for justice. Ashish alleged that Saini is facing charges in other cases as well and has misused his official position to escape prosecution.