Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wife ‘dead’ in Bihar, man ‘sights’ her in Noida

Noida, October 30 Three years after his in-laws charged him with murdering his wife, a man from Saaran district in Bihar claims his wife is alive and well. In Noida. Pankaj Kumar Singh says Sudha Chaubey, wife of Noida-based Prabhat Kumar, is his wife — Kanchan.
Sudha, in turn, says she has never seen Pankaj; she claims to have been married with Prabhat since 2002 — “we have two children aged four and three”.
But Pankaj has little doubt that it is Kanchan, the woman he married in May 2004. Police personnel from both Bihar and Noida are, meanwhile, in a fix.
Sub-Inspector Bharat Prasad Singh of Bihar Police, who came here to investigate the case on Monday, said Pankaj has given them a photograph of his wife, and the woman in the photograph “looks exactly the same” as Sudha. “But Sudha Chaubey says she has all legal documents of her marriage with Prabhat Kumar,” the S-I said.
Rewind: Saaran, Bihar
Pankaj Singh married Kanchan, a resident of Banni village in Saaran, on May 9, 2004; and Kanchan went missing within six months. Kanchan’s father Gunjeshwar Mishra filed a complaint of dowry harassment and murder. Pankaj and his family members were arrested; they were released on bail later and most charges were dropped.
Amid all this, there was no further news of Kanchan. Until this year.
On September 13, a Saaran district court ordered a case to be registered against Pankaj after Mishra filed an application. But within days Pankaj informed local police that Kanchan was alive. And based in Noida. “Some relatives in Noida told me they had seen Kanchan at a mall in Sector-38A,” he said. “They also clicked her picture and forwarded them.”
Present tense: Noida
Bihar Police reached Noida on Monday to question Sudha Chaubey, who works as a security guard with Group 4 Securities agency. She is posted at Great India Place Mall in Sector 38A at present. “I’m from Gayaghat village in Muzaffarpur (Bihar); my husband Prabhat Kumar comes from Rampura village in Darbhanga,” Sudha said. “We were in the same college and got married in 2002.”
Asked about Pankaj’s claim, she pointed to her children and countered: “How is it possible to have children of that age if I was with them at the time (2004)?” Sudha said she has been living in Sector-22 for the past four years. Her husband Prabhat Kumar runs a vegetable shop here. “We are being harassed,” he said. “We have all documents to prove our marriage.”
Sudha was detained at Sector-39. The police station’s SHO, Anil Samania, said, “We could not differentiate from the photograph.” He said the court would now have to decide the matter.
The Bihar police have taken Sudha into custody and will take her to Saaran for further inquiry.