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UK police investigates death of Brit-Indian woman in Punjab

November 14, 2010 - New Delhi

The UK police, which is investigating the "suspicious death" of a British woman in India three years ago, are preparing a file for prosecutors after four Homicide and Serious Crime Squad detectives spent two weeks in India collecting evidence.

Forty-three-year-old Manjit Kular from Cranford in West London, had travelled to the northern region of Punjab in October 2007 with her husband to attend a wedding. Her body was found eleven days later on a road on the outskirts of her husband's village with major facial injuries during Diwali, The Independent reports.

Kular was allegedly knocked over by a car while walking along a quiet country lane with one of her husband's male relatives after visiting two holy shrines in adjacent fields late at night.

An autopsy at the local hospital reported the cause of death as multiple injuries. Indian police initially described the death as "suspicious" in local media, but later said it was likely to have been a case of accident. The case remained open, and her death remains a mystery for her family, the paper said.

The Metropolitan Police became involved after a British cousin, Sarbjit Johal, reported the death as suspicious to his local police station in Hounslow.

On arrival in India, Kular was visited by her relatives while staying with her husband's extended family. Her younger brother, Arwinder Singh, said: "They wouldn't let her talk alone with us but she whispered to me 'my life is in danger, they are going to kill me'. We didn't take her with us because her husband wasn't present and that is necessary in our culture. We should have taken her with us."

Kular's husband, Jagpaljeet Singh Kular, was initially charged with her murder last July after returning from Punjab for the first time since her death. The charges were dropped in October 2009, a month before the case was due to be heard at the Old Bailey.

The original police team had not travelled to India to gather evidence. A new team of detectives, led by DCI Dave Manning, had taken over the case just weeks before the trial last year. His officers finally got permission to travel to Punjab this September and gathered related information, the paper added.

Manjti Kular arrived in London in 1986 at the age of 22, and lived initially with her extended family. An ambitious young woman, she quickly found work, bought a house and married. This marriage ended in divorce and their daughter, now 14, was in boarding school in India at the time of her mother's death.


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