News East West
BRAMPTON: The father-in-law of Indo-Canadian woman Poonam Litt murdered in Feb 2009 has admitted his role in the cover-up of the case.
Poonam Litt, 29 at that time and pregnant, was murdered on Feb 4, 2009, in the family’s Brampton home during an argument with her sister-in-law Mandeep Punia.
In the shared family home, Poonam Litt taunted Mandeep Punia, 28 then, for having an affair in India before her marriage to Skinder Punia.
This taunt angered Mandeep who stabbed Poonam in the neck with a box cutter. Poonam, who was holding her two-year-old daughter, fell to the ground, bleeding to her death. Mandeep never called 911 and left Poonam bleed to death.
Mandeep and her husband Skinder Punia wrapped Poonam’s body in a plastic sheet and dumped it in the wooded area in the nearby Caledon forest. Poonam’s husband Manjinder Litt was in India when she was stabbed to death.
Mandeep Punia was sentenced to a 12-year jail term in August. Her husband Skinder got seven years in jail.
Mandeep’s father Kulwant Litt, 67, who had floated the story at the time of the murder that Poonam had gone missing while on her way to her job at a nearby dental office, on Tuesday also pleaded guilty to his complicity in the crime. He admitted in court that he had helped dispose of his daughter-in-law’s body.
Kulwant Litt admitted that he was home at the time of the argument broke out between the two women. He said he went upstairs to get Mandeep Punia’s husband Skinder to intervene and stop the fight between the two women.
The old man said when he returned downstairs he found Poonam bleeding. He said his daughter (Mandeep Punia) told him that Poonam had stabbed herself. But Poonam told him that Mandeep had stabbed her.
The old man said he asked Mandeep and Skinder to call an ambulance be called, but they didn’t and said they would take care of it.
Kulwant Litt told the court that as Poonam was bleeding he took his granddaughter from her arms, went upstairs and changed the girl’s bloodstained clothes.
He said by the time he again returned downstairs, Poonam had died and Mandeep and her husband Skinder Punia were cleaning up the bloody scene.
Kulwant Litt told the court that they wrapped the body in a mattress, he and Skinder drove to Caledon and threw it into a wooded area.
Poonam was reported missing by her sisters when she didn’t show for her work at the dental clinic.
When police questioned Kulwant Litt, he lied, saying that he had heard her getting ready to go to work at day.
The case went cold as police failed to get any clues. But in February 2012 Kulwant Litt told a relative in India that his daughter (Mandeep Punia) had killed his daughter-in-law and that he helped dispose of the body. The relative informed Poonam’s husband Manjinder.
Manjinder then spoke with Litt who admitted his role in the crime. He taped his conversation with Litt and informed police.
Litt also took Manjinder to the spot in Caledon where Poonam’s body was dumped.
The skeletons of the body were recovered from the spot. Mandeep, her husband Skinder and Kulwant Litt were arrested on the basis of forensic evidence.
Kulwant Litt will be sentenced later this month.