Lower court acquits man of Indian-origin woman’s murder

  • The court gave the suspect "benefit of the doubt"
  • Kaur was a distant relative of former Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, had disappeared shortly after she arrived in Lahore in August 2012 to attend a conference

LAHORE – The Additional District and Sessions Court, Lahore Judge Irfan Basra on Saturday acquitted Hafiz Shahzad in the murder of Rajvindar Kaur Gill after the prosecution failed to establish the charges against him.

A Pakistani court here has acquitted a man allegedly involved in the kidnap-cum-murder of an Indian-Canadian businesswoman.

The court gave the suspect “benefit of the doubt.”

Five years ago, Lahore police had registered a murder case against Hafiz Shahzad, Shahid Ghazanfar alias Karishna Roy and some unidentified accused on the complaint of Sikandar Singh Gill, the father of the victim.

According to the FIR, Kaur reached Lahore from Canada on August 25, 2012, and also confirmed her arrival to the family over the telephone. When she reached Lahore she had a Canadian passport, cash, a laptop, gold ornaments and other valuables.

The complainant said Kaur was in regular contact with Shahid Ghazanfar, alias Karishna Roy, Hafiz Shahzad and others.

Ghazanfar in connivance with Shahzad and other accomplices kidnapped her to rob her of money and later killed her, the complainant said.

Sikandar Singh Gill’s counsel Aftab Ahmad Bajwa said the accused had made a confession before the magistrate that he and other accomplices had killed Kaur over a monetary matter, and thrown her body into Khanpur canal on Sheikhupura Road (some 50-km from Lahore) the day she reached Lahore.

“We will challenge the acquittal in the Lahore High Court as police have enough evidence against the accused,” Advocate Bajwa said.

Ghazanfar, who managed to leave Pakistan after allegedly committing the crime, is reportedly facing trial in Canada.

Kaur was a distant female relative of former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of India’s Punjab.

According to Sikandar Singh Gill, her daughter, a Candian national with Indian origin, she had reached Lahore last August to attend a conference here and later went missing.

“My daughter had fallen in love with a man who introduced him to her as Krishna based in Lahore on Facebook. Primarily, she went to Lahore to meet Krishna,” he said.

In a letter to Badal which he handed over to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on his Lahore visit this month, Singh says: “I served the Indian Air Force before I moved to Canada 13 years ago. My other family members including Ravindar Kaur who is in her 30s also joined me in 2007.

“My daughter then moved to Switzerland after she got a job in a bank in Zurich. She went to Lahore to attend a conference in August 2012 and remained in touch with me for few days. She also went to Gurdawar Janamasthan, Nankana Sahib. She told me that she was going to meet a journalist ’Iqbal Hussain of News One’ before we lost contact with her.”

“Dear Brother! Since I know you have strong relations with the Pakistan Punjab chief minister and we are optimistic that she will be brought to home safely.”

After learning this Mr. Sharif got into action and ordered the authorities concerned to arrest the culprits.