//Four years in prison for committing no crime !

Four years in prison for committing no crime !

CBI finds chinks in Punjab police probe: 4 booked for no crime

New Delhi, Sept 03: Four years in prison for committing no crime is the story of four persons including a woman who may finally be set free, thanks to the CBI which has pointed out shoddy investigations by Punjab police.

Sucha Singh, Balkar Singh, Laxmi Bai and Amrik Singh arrested by Punjab Police on September 23, 2002 for allegedly kidnapping a woman and compelling her into marriage – a crime they did not commit.

The four have been languishing in judicial custody and may walk free as the CBI probe found they never kidnapped any woman nor forced her into marriage.

The case dates to the night of August 31, 2002 when one Arshdeep Kaur disappeared from her house in Mansa district.

Her father immediately named the four who had been working at his house as labourers for some time during which she had starting having an affair with Amrik Singh.

Arshdeep had once fled and met Amrik Singh who sent her back home, the CBI said and added that she had allegedly been tortured by her parents upon her return.

As time went by, she again decided to flee and went to Sucha Singh, Balkar Singh and Laxmi Bai and requested them to accompany her to a bus stop from where she would take a bus to Amritsar to meet Amrik.

The trio helped her to go out of the village after which Arshdeep started walking down to the nearest bus stop, took a bus and reached Amritsar, a CBI spokesman said.

After reaching Amritsar bus stand, she took a rickshaw to a hotel and stayed for a day before she contacted Amrik Singh on phone to reach her.

While travelling in the rickshaw, she changed her mind and requested the rickshaw-puller to take her to his home. Later, the entire village came to know about her presence in the rickshaw-puller's house.

Finally, on the intervention of the village panchayat, she married the rickshaw-puller and had been staying there in Suyian Khurd village with him since then, the spokesman said.

For the CBI, it was a difficult case to crack as nobody knew when she actually left that village. But after inquiries with her close relatives, they came to know she once called her aunt without giving away her whereabouts.

The CBI team requested the aunt to install a caller identity phone and was regularly monitoring incoming calls.

One day, the aunt received a call from Arshdeep, which was traced, leading the team to Suyian Khurd village where she was located.

A senior CBI official looking after the case said she had not remained in touch with her parents and relatives. "She made only two calls in the last four years to her aunt and we managed to trace her in the second call," he said.

She has been produced before the Patiala Special Judicial Magistrate who sent to a remand home after which her confessional statement would be recorded, the spokesman said.

The agency stepped into the case only after Arshdeep's father filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court asking for CBI inquiry because her whereabout were not known despite the arrest of the four.

For the CBI, it was a wait of two years after registering a case on July 26, 2004.