Two prime accused in the murder case of Canadian-born Jassi Sidhu have been extradited from Canada and are being brought to Punjab, state police sources confirmed on Thursday.
Those extradited are Jassi’s mother Malkit Kaur Sidhu and maternal uncle Surjit Singh Badesha. They were brought from Vancouver and reached Delhi early on Thursday.
The victim, Jassi also known as Jaswinder Sidhu was murdered in Punjab in June 2000 during a visit to India, allegedly at the behest of her relatives who were upset that she got married to a boy from a lower caste.
The murder case became a much talked-about honour-killing case in Canada’s strong Indian community.
“Surjit Badesha and his sister Malkit Sidhu had hired contract killers to eliminate Malkit’s daughter Jassi,” a Punjab Police official told IANS here.
Canadian-born Jassi Sidhu, a Jat Sikh girl, had met Sukhwinder Singh (Mithu) in Jagraon during her visit to Punjab in 1996 and fallen in love.
The two secretly married in 1999 when she travelled to India.
Jassi was murdered near Mithu’s village in June 2000, when the couple was going on a scooter. They were waylaid by contract killers.
Punjab Police investigations had confirmed that it was an “honour-killing” plotted by Malkit Sidhu and Surjit Badesha sitting in Canada.
Based on evidence of 266 phone calls that Badesha had with the hired killers, India formally requested Canada in 2005 to extradite Badesha and Malkit Sidhu to face trial.
In May 2014, an extradition judge in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver ordered that Jassi’s uncle and mother must be deported to India to face trial.
But the British Columbia’s Appeal Court overturned the deportation order on ground of India’s “appalling” record on treatment of prisoners.
In September 2017, both accused were on the verge of being extradited to India but the Punjab Police was left baffled by the last minute decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to stay the extradition.
Canadian authorities had asked a team of the Punjab Police, which had gone to bring the accused to Punjab for the murder trial, to de-board the flight which was ready to take off for New Delhi from Vancouver.
The stay, police officials said here, was attributed to unverified Facebook posts which said that the accused would be convicted immediately in Punjab and not get a fair trial as promised by the Punjab Police and Indian authorities.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in an unanimous judgment by a nine-judge bench, had earlier paved the way for extradition of Jassi Sidhu’s mother and uncle to India in the honour-killing case in Punjab.
The top Canadian court overruled a lower court order that had stopped the deportation of the two accused from Maple Ridge near Vancouver.