Chandigarh, Punjab: A day after Bibi Jagir Kaur was sentenced to five years in jail for conspiracy in the death of her daughter Harpreet Kaur 12 years ago, the SAD-BJP government openly extended VIP treatment to the former minister on Saturday.
Forced to resign as Punjab’s minister for rural water supply and sanitation and defence services after her conviction and arrest, Jagir Kaur was accompanied out of the packed courtroom by police officials.
“It appeared that the police officials were escorting and guarding her from the crowd and media rather than taking her away as a convicted criminal,” a lawyer in Patiala courts said.
She was led into a waiting air-conditioned grey-coloured Toyota Innova luxury vehicle to be taken to the Patiala central jail.
Within hours of her being sent to the jail, her request to be transferred to the Kapurthala central jail, nearly 200 km from Patiala, was ‘promptly’ acceded to. Jagir Kaur, who is head of a cash-rich ‘dera’ (sect) in Begowal village, belongs to the district.
Jagir Kaur was, on late Friday night, driven under police escort, which looked more like a ministerial convoy rather than being that of a convicted criminal, in another white-coloured private air-conditioned Toyota Innova luxury vehicle. In the car, she was accompanied by only one woman police official seated next to her.
Her Innova was allowed to be driven straight inside the Kapurthala jail complex where police officials in uniform and other jail officials in plainclothes were waiting for her arrival.
To top it all, one official in plainclothes and a uniformed officer bent to touch her feet as she alighted from the Innova car in her trademark white salwar-kameez and a cotton dupatta over her head.
Video footage shows jail officials, in uniform and civil clothes, shamelessly touching her feet. I understand that she has been extended the facility of a special darbar inside the jail where people can meet her. All this is happening on the directions of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Seeing journalists clicking photographs, Kaur said, “Don’t publish them as you will also land in trouble for violating norms.” She then moved to jail superintendent SP Khanna’s room where visitors continued to throng. Prisons minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur also came to meet Kaur.
Raising questions over shifting Jagir Kaur from Patiala to the Kapurthala jail, Former Congress legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the rules were being openly circumvented, at the behest of the Badal government, to give VIP treatment to Jagir Kaur.
He said justice could only be done if she is shifted to a jail outside Punjab and treated like any other convicted criminal.
Source: Deccan chronicle
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Adrsh Pal Singh Ghotra