An 'organised' crime of passion

An 'organised' crime of passion
PHOTO: The New Paper

It began with a headless body, wrapped in plastic, that was found floating in the Whampoa River in December 2013.

Today, after more than 1.5 years, the police are no closer to solving the mystery of how and why Madam Jasvinder Kaur, a 33-year-old beautician from India, ended up dead and mutilated.

Her head and hands remain missing, despite the police combing through three tonnes of rubbish at Tuas incinerator and the area near the canal.

And they were unable to confirm where the body was chopped up or recover the tools used in the ghastly deed, a coroner's inquiry into Madam Kaur's death was told yesterday.

As the prime suspect in her death, her husband Harvinder Singh, 35, could have provided some answers.

On wanted list

But the Indian national managed to slip out of Singapore before his wife's body was discovered and is believed to be back in India, where he remains on the Interpol wanted list.

He had implied to a compatriot, Gursharan Singh, 27, who had helped him dispose of the body, that his wife's death was the result of a crime of passion after he became suspicious and jealous when she hung up on a long-distance call to India as he approached her.

They started quarrelling after he noticed the rapid depletion of her pre-paid mobile card within a day and suspected she could have been talking to another man on the phone.

Gursharan claimed Harvinder told him that during the fight, he punched his wife once on the neck. She fell unconscious on a bed and he left the room.

When he got back much later, she was dead. To cover up her death, he placed the body in the bag and planned to dispose of it.

Investigations indicated that the disposal of the body was meticulous.

Investigation officer Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Roy Lim, who took the stand yesterday, said that hardly any trace of blood was found in the apartment, in particular the toilet, which would be the best place to dismember the body.

He said that the lack of blood traces could mean that Harvinder had cleaned up the place thoroughly.

When State Coroner Marvin Bay asked if the body could have been bled out before it was stuffed into a luggage suitcase that was later thrown into the river, DSP Lim replied: "Yes."

Mr Bay then remarked: "It seems to be very well organised for a crime of passion."

DSP Lim agreed.

Mr Bay went on to rule Madam Kaur's death as an unlawful killing by her husband.

He also noted that Gursharan, who was jailed for 30 months in April for his role in the disposal of the body, had given the police an insight into the nature and extent of his involvement.

On Dec 11, 2013, Harvinder, a senior logistics coordinator, sought help from Gursharan, a forklift driver, at a Sikh temple in Towner Road, at about 7am to shift belongings out of his home.

At 11.30pm, they met again and went to Harvinder's second-storey unit in a shophouse at Block 228A, Balestier Road.

Gursharan later noticed Harvinder's home was in disarray with clothing strewn on an uncovered mattress and the smell of perfume lingered in the air.

He then went downstairs to wait as Harvinder packed. Half an hour later, Harvinder dragged a luggage bag down the stairs. It made a loud sound as it landed on each step.

As they headed towards Whampoa Drive, one of the bag's wheels broke at an overhead crossing. As they carried the heavy bag, Gursharan demanded to know its contents.

That was when Harvinder told Gursharan his version of what had happened that morning.

As they continued on their journey, Gursharan later felt the shape of a human body inside the bag as he lifted it, but he did not see any blood or fluid.

After they dumped the bag, Harvinder left for Malaysia and phoned Gursharan one last time.

By the time police found Madam Kaur's body after 7.30am, she had been dead for about 15 to 20 hours, said DSP Lim.

She was found to have been placed on her back for about five to eight hours after she died, Mr Bay said.

Pathologists were unable to ascertain the cause of death, he added.

Eighteen external injuries were found on the body, said to have been caused by two types of cutting weapons as well as a blunt object.

Indian authorities are still searching for Harvinder, said Mr Bay.

About the case

The dismembered body of Madam Jasvinder Kaur, a 33-year-old beautician from India, was found in the Whampoa River on Dec 12, 2013.

Her mutilated body, which was missing its head and hands, was wrapped in trash bags when it was found floating in a waterway between McNair Road and St George's Road.

Six days later, the police arrested forklift driver Gursharan Singh, 27.

He was initially charged with Madam Kaur's murder on Dec 20, 2013. The Indian national was later given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on the murder charge and then charged with one count each of causing evidence of a crime to disappear and failing to inform the police that an offence had taken place.

He also admitted to helping Madam Kaur's husband, Harvinder Singh, evade punishment.

Gursharan was sentenced to 30 months' jail on April 8 this year.

The police are still looking for Harvinder Singh, who has been placed on Interpol's wanted list.

This article was first published on July 29, 2015.
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