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From March 2 to 4, defence lawyers examined SPO Kuldeep Singh, the key witness in the Jaswant Singh Khalra case. Earlier in the trial, Kuldeep Singh testified that he had seen Khalra’s torture and the disposal of his body, and implicated KPS Gill, the highest police officer in Punjab at the time.

On March 3, police officers set up a security picket at the entrance to the District Courts complex, and allowed the security personnel of the accused police officers to enter, but denied entrance to Kuldeep Singh’s CRPF security personnel. This delayed court proceedings while the CBI and Kuldeep Singh’s lawyer Brijinder Singh Sodhi argued with the police. After they were finally allowed to enter, Kuldeep Singh brought the incident to the notice of the court.

The SSP said the security personnel posted at the gate were not aware that SPO Kuldeep Singh had been authorised security. When questioned about the easy entry given to the security guards of the accused police officers, he said they had been authorised to provide security to the accused persons.

During Kuldeep Singh’s cross-examination, the defense avoided asking questions directly relating to his earlier testimony. On the second day of his examination, the defence instead questioned him about his and his father’s ration cards and about a former landlord.

After a long round of questioning, prosecution lawyer Brijinder Singh Sodhi claimed that defence lawyers were going astray by not asking a single question about the occurrence which Kuldeep had deposed about earlier.

This pattern of questioning continued on the following day. Defence lawyers questioned Kuldeep Singh about his whereabouts since his February 16 deposition, not about the subject of that deposition — Khalra’s torture and the disposal of his body.

The defence lawyers tried to paint a picture that the star CBI witness had deliberately stayed away from four court hearings in the case after he deposed against the police officials. He was asked about his location from February 17 to 20 which he refuse to disclose due to “security reasons” and again from February 21 to 27 when he claimed he was at his home in Bachhray village in Taran Tarn as he had been prescribed medical rest.


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