Akali leader Bibi Jagir Kaur was on Tuesday acquitted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of forcible abortion and abduction of her daughter, who had died under mysterious circumstances in April 2000.
A division bench of justices A B Chaudhari and Kuldip Singh also acquitted three other accused, setting aside the 2012 verdict of Patiala CBI Special court which had sentenced them and former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)president Kaur to five years imprisonment in the case.
"The court acquitted Bibi Jagir Kaur and three others accused in this case," said defence counsel Vinod Ghai on Tuesday.
The other three accused were Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi, Paramjit Singh Raipur and Nishan Singh.
The high court also dismissed the appeal of the CBI and complainant Kamaljit Singh, who claimed to be the husband of Kaur's daughter Harpreet, filed against the Patiala CBI court judgement acquitting Kaur and others of the murder charge.
The bench set aside the 2012 verdict of Patiala CBI court which had sentenced Kaur and others to five-year imprisonment, along with Rs 5,000 fine, for abduction, forcible abortion and wrongful confinement of Harpreet Kaur.
"The impugned judgment and order dated 30.03.2012,… passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala, by which the above accused/appellants, namely Nishan Singh, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Paramjit Singh Raipur and Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi were convicted for commission of offence punishable under Sections 120-B, 313, 365 and 344 of IPC and were sentenced to undergo imprisonment as indicated against their names, by the learned trial Court, in the operative part of the impugned judgment and order, is set aside; and they all are acquitted of the charges for which they were convicted," the order said.
"The prosecution miserably failed to prove its case against all the accused persons. The judgment impugned is illegal and must be set aside which we do," the order added.
The CBI had probed the matter on the directions of the high court after Kamaljit Singh had approached the court following Harpreet's death in 2000.
The agency had claimed that Harpreet's pregnancy was terminated against her will in March 2000 after she was sedated and confined to a house.
After Bibi Jagir Kaur was convicted, she had to resign as a minister in Akali-BJP government in 2012. She also could not contest 2017 Punjab Assembly polls as her appeal against the Patiala CBI court verdict was pending in the high court.
(With inputs from agencies.)