Punjab legislator booked for murdering cousin

By Parminder Singh Bariana, IANS
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NAWANSHAHR - Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal legislator Mohan Lal was booked Wednesday for poisoning his cousin to settle an old dispute, police said.

Mohan Lal is a member of the legislative assembly from Banga seat in this Punjab district. He was booked nearly three days after the death of his cousin and former personal assistant Jagdish Maimi, police said.

Jagdish’s brother Prem Lal had given a written complaint to the police.

Besides Mohan Lal, his wife Santosh Kumari, mother Parkash Kaur and personal assistant Jaswinder Singh were also booked.

However, the legislator claimed he was innocent.

“I have no role in this incident. I too am shocked and it seems to be a case of natural death,” he told IANS.

Mohan Lal is the son of Swarna Ram, cabinet minister in Punjab and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Phagwara seat.

Jagdish, resident of Behram village here, died in mysterious circumstances Feb 20. His body was kept in the civil hospital here and his family members had refused to take the body till a case against the legislator and his family was registered.

“Mohan Lal and Jagdish, who were cousins, were very close to each other at one point of time but later some differences surfaced in their relation. Mohan Lal was also annoyed with Jagdish as he had supported former finance minister Manpreet Badal during a political rally,” Nawanshahr’s Superintendent of Police (headquarters) Ranveer Singh told IANS Wednesday.

“Mohan Lal had invited Jagdish to his home for dinner on Feb 20 and said that he wanted to settle all disputes with him. After the dinner, when Jagdish reached his home, he had severe pain in stomach and he told his family members that he was given some poisonous substance in food by Mohan Lal,” Singh said.

Jagdish was also an influential man of his area. He had also held the post of Behram village sarpanch (headman) and was a leader of Akali Dal’s youth wing.

Akali Dal president and state Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has assured of a fair trial in this case.

“We would ensure a fair investigation and court trial in this case. No leader of any political party can take law into his hand to settle personal scores,” Badal told IANS.

However, Jagdish’s family members accused Mohan Lal of threatening them to withdraw their complaint.

“Mohan Lal is threatening us of dire consequences for the last two days. His men are creating pressure on us and they have also offered us money to withdraw our complaint. But we would not succumb to any such pressure and demand strict punishment for the murderers,” Prem Lal, the complainant, told IANS.

Nawanshahr is around 100 km from the state capital Chandigarh.

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