Kharad (Punjab): It may be straight out of a suspense novel.
Pooja Singla, a resident of Dhuri and daughter of Ravi Kumar, was married to Morinda resident Tejinder alias Binni Bhola in 2012. Following their marriage, the couple lived in a rented apartment in Mata Gujri Enclave in Kharad. One day in March 2014, two years after their marriage, Pooja left the house without any explanation, leaving a 32-page note with one of her neighbours.
Following her disappearance, Pooja’s husband, Tejinder, filed a missing person report with the police, while her father, Ravi, registered a case of dowry harassment against his son-in-law and his father, Raju Bhola, under section 406 and 498.
Fast forward four years to July 2018 when Pooja was finally located again by the police and handed over to her family. However, a few days after she rejoined her family, her father, observing her behaviour, began having suspicions that the girl that the police had brought back was not Pooja.
‘She is not Pooja’
On July 06, in a Mohali sessions court, Ravi claimed that the girl was not his daughter and that a DNA test should be conducted. Ravi said that the girl’s face resembles Pooja’s very closely but it is not her. He added that while Pooja had studied till grade 12, this girl was illiterate. When the woman was questioned by the court, she confessed that she was indeed not Pooja. She said she is originally from Nangli village and had run away from her home three years ago.
‘No doubt, she is’
Tejinder, who was also present in the court, on the other hand, had claimed that the girl was Pooja. In fact, it was because of Tejinder that the woman was before the court. Tejinder had read a newspaper report published on March 16, 2018, where he identified the woman pictured in the story as Pooja. According to the story, Ludhiana police had been tipped off by a woman named Pooja (a resident of Amritsar and who had run away from home three years ago) that her live-in partner, Sarabjit Singh, was trying to sell their son for Rs 2 lakh with the help of another woman. After Tejinder informed Kharad police about the news story, they got the woman named Pooja transferred from Ludhiana to Kharad.
The court has ordered a DNA test to be carried out on the woman, the results of which will be presented before the court on August 06, 2018. Only then, can it be conclusively said if the woman is indeed Pooja or not.
Tejinder and his father have already served 17 months and 6 months in jail respectively in relation to the dowry harassment case. Pooja’s father, Ravi, has said that Pooja’s in-laws, in their greed for dowry, had killed his daughter and made her body disappear. However, the police did not take action on this charge. Ravi took the case up to High Court, where after two years of judicial battle, he got Tejinder and his father arrested under section 304B and 201.