A PRIVATE school teacher was shot dead outside the school in Sunny Enclave area at Kharar on Thursday morning. The victim parked her Scooty and was going inside the school premises with her 5-year-old daughter when the incident happened. The daughter was safe.
Police did not rule out the possibility of contract killing. It is the third murder in Kharar area in the last three days.
According to the police, the victim was identified as Sarbjeet Kaur, 35. She stayed on rent at Daun village and had been teaching Punjabi subject at Knowledge Bus Public School in Sunny Enclave for the past eight months. Her parents stay in Phase IV, Mohali. The incident happened around 7.30 am. She had joined the school in April this year after returning from France.
“She came on her Scooty and parked it in the school parking. While she was coming towards the main gate of the school premises, a man, who had covered his face with a black cloth, pumped three bullets into her body. One bullet hit her in the face while two hit her in the chest. She was taken to Civil Hospital in Phase VI, Mohali, where she was declared dead,” a security guard of the school said.
The security guard said by the time they saw Sarbjeet fall on the ground with bullet injuries, the culprits managed to escape in a Ford Ikon car.
Ramu, who works at a fruit shop at the market outside the school, said that he was opening the shop when the incident occurred. He saw a man running towards a car with his face covered.
“I could not understand, but I saw a man running towards a silver-coloured car which was moving. He was also carrying a weapon in his hand. Everything happened so swiftly that nobody could understand anything,” Ramu told Chandigarh Newsline. Residential area is close to the school building.
Arvind Kumar, who was coming out of the temple located opposite the school, said that while he was on his way to the temple, he saw a man was wandering near the school with his face covered.
“I thought the man had covered himself with a cloth as protection from cold. When the incident happened, I saw the same man running,” Arvind said.
The CCTV footage of the cameras installed at the main entrance of the school showed a tall and well-built man running towards a moving car. The face of the accused was not clear as he had covered it with a black cloth. The car’s number plate was not clear as the culprits had blackened the plate.
Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kuldeep Singh Chahal, who visited the spot, said, “Our teams are working on it. We shall soon get leads and arrest the culprits. We booked unidentified persons and would soon crack the case. At this stage her husband is a suspect.”
SSP Chahal said Sarbjeet had been living separately from her husband and her parents in SBP Homes at Chajjumajra, Kharar. She had lived in France for around six years and her daughter Aradhya too was born there.
According to sources in the police, Sarbjeet returned to India with her husband around a year ago and the couple had a dispute over the custody of their daughter.
Sarbjeet’s younger brother Dilpreet Singh said that his sister went to France with her husband Harvinder Singh Sandhu, a resident of Alkare village in Barnala district, in 2012 on study visa but the couple used to have fights. The couple had a love marriage against the wishes of Sarbjeet’s family.
Dilpreet said that his sister had lodged a complaint for domestic violence against her husband with the Mohali SSP around four months ago.
On the whereabouts of Sarbjeet’s former husband, Dilpreet said that they did not know much about her husband who too returned to India with Sarbjeet around a year ago.
Replying to a question whether Sarbjeet’s in-laws contacted them, Dilpreet said that they did not receive any communication from them.
Sarbjeet’s parents who stay in Phase IV on rent did not want to speak about the incident. Her father Raj Kumar, however, said that Sarbjeet
stayed in France for six years. She returned to India around nine months ago and started staying at Kharar.
“She started coming to my house around a year ago. I was aware of her divorce, but she had been living separately from us,” Raj Kumar told the police. “I can’t say that her former husband was involved. At this stage we cannot say anything.”
A police officer, part of the investigating team, told Chandigarh Newsline, “We are not ruling out the role of her in-laws as she wanted to keep her daughter with her while her husband wanted the custody of their daughter. It could be a case of contract killing as well. At this point we are working on all the angles.”
The officer said that Sarbjeet stayed at Daun earlier but later, she had shifted to SBP Homes, a housing society at Kharar.
The school authorities refused to comment on the incident. The spokesperson of Knowledge Bus School said they provided the CCTV footage to the police.
The police registered a murder case against an unidentified person at the Kharar (sadr) police station on the complaint of Sarbjeet’s father Raj Kumar. The post-mortem of the body will be conducted on Friday.
The Kharar (Sadr) Station House Officer, Sub-Inspector Amandeep Singh, told Chandigarh Newsline that preliminary investigation revealed that
Sarbjeet’s husband Harvinder Singh had married another woman as well. He had two daughters from his first marriage.