Agra lab killing: 4 days after wife's death, accused allowed last rites

KillingPolice accused Yashveer Singh Sandhu, a technician at the lab, of helping to destroy evidence after a girl student was murdered by 21-year-old B.Sc student Uday Swaroop. (Photo: IE)

For nearly nine months, Preeti Singh Sandhu fought the stigma of being the wife of a man accused of involvement in murder, clinging to the conviction that her husband would be ultimately proven innocent.

On Saturday, the young mother of two boys succumbed to a five-day fever that damaged her brain.

But it was only after four days that her husband, Yashveer Singh Sandhu, could get to see the body of his wife — after the Allahabad High Court allowed a plea that both the district judge and district magistrate had refused to entertain. On the court's order, Sandhu was given parole so he could cremate Preeti on Wednesday.

Sandhu, 35, was arrested from the couple's B block, Adan Bagh, home in April last year in connection with the murder of Neha Sharma, a 27-year-old researcher whose body had been found in a laboratory at the Dayal Bagh Educational Institute a month earlier.

Agra Police accused Sandhu, a technician at the lab, of helping to destroy evidence after Sharma was murdered by 21-year-old B.Sc student Uday Swaroop, who police said was infatuated with the woman. But the police failed to take their case forward, and in August, the investigation was transferred to the CBI.

After Preeti died on January 4, the family ran from pillar to post trying to obtain parole for Sandhu so he could perform her last rites. The district judge, whom the family approached first, allegedly said the matter was administrative, not judicial, in nature.

The district magistrate, Agra City, to whom the family was referred, allegedly said he had the authority to give parole only to convicts, not undertrials.

Sandhu's sister Sonika, an assistant professor at the Dayal Bagh institute, said her brother's co-accused Swaroop had been granted parole on eight occasions to write his final year exams.

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