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‘Cool and calm’ Kohli awaits wife

Kalimpong, July 17: Rape and murder accused Maninderpal Singh Kohli, who has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days, is claiming innocence and wants to meet Bharati Das, the woman he married during his stay in Kalimpong.

Outside, the various security agencies involved in the case are vying for his custody in court. A Kalimpong court today ordered that Kohli, wanted for raping and murdering British schoolgirl Hannah Foster, be handed over to the CBI, PTI reported.

Darjeeling police moved the petition for the CBI in the court of the Kalimpong sub-divisional magistrate.

A separate petition was moved by Punjab police, which had arrived here yesterday to probe an alleged passport forgery by Kohli, a British national, said Darjeeling police superintendent Rajeev Mishra. But the modalities and date of the handover have not been finalised.

State IGP (law and order) Chayan Mukherjee had told reporters in Calcutta that the state police had contacted the CBI for further interrogation of Kohli, mainly on the passport forgery angle.

A three-member team of Punjab police and Alan Betts, from the Hampshire Constabulary, who is looking after the British end of the probe, reached here yesterday and moved court for transit remand.

Yesterday, Kohli was taken to the Kalimpong sub-divisional hospital for a medical check-up before being produced in court, which sent him to the Kalimpong Subsidiary Correctional Home till July 29.

P. Biswas, the doctor who checked Kohli, said: “I did not have much conversation with him yesterday apart from what a doctor has with his patient. However, he looked calm and cool and talked about the problems he was facing. He just complained about a headache, which could be due to him being a patient of hypertension.”

Kohli has maintained his composure in the correction home.

“He is very calm and has been interacting with the other prisoners in Hindi. Last night, he could also be heard singing the song Mera jeevan kora kaagaz kora hi reh gaya,” said a source in the home.

“Other than that, he expects Bharati to come and meet him. He feels that Bharati might be scared and has not come to meet him and he wants to contact her. He also says it was Bharati’s love that made him stay in Kalimpong,” the source added.

Kohli fled from Britain last year, leaving his wife and two sons behind after Hannah’s body was found in Southampton.

He has not had any visitors since he was sent to the home. “Kohli has made no requests to us so far nor has anyone come to meet him,” said Kalimpong sub-divisional officer A.K. Yadav, who is also the ex officio superintendent of the Kalimpong Subsidiary Correctional Home.

The source said Kohli has not spoken much about the case, except claiming that he is “innocent”.

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