Mr. Rebates

Friday, December 3, 2010

Slain woman's sister says Panghali defensive after wife's disappearance

Jasmine Bhambra said her brother-in-law, Mukhtiar Panghali, didn’t seem concerned when talking about his missing wife in the days after she disappeared.

Bhambra, Manjit Panghali’s older sister, testified Wednesday at Panghali’s B.C. Supreme Court trial.
Panghali is charged with second-degree murder and interference with a dead body in connection with Manjit’s death. Manjit disappeared after a prenatal yoga class on Oct. 18, 2006, and her burned body was found off Deltaport Way five days later.

Bhambra said she found out her sister was missing when her mother phoned as she was about to leave on a trip to Edmonton on Oct. 19, 2006.

The next day, Bhambra called her mother and found out that Manjit was still gone.
Bhambra said she tried to get in touch with Panghali after he left a message on her home phone, but couldn’t.
She booked a flight home the following day.

Bhambra finally talked to Panghali on Oct. 21, and he told her she didn’t need to come home.
Crown prosecutor Dennis Murray asked Bhambra about Panghali’s demeanour during the call.
“Very unconcerned — he wasn’t concerned at all,” she said.

Bhambra said although Manjit had left before, she became worried because Manjit didn’t take her daughter with her and hadn’t called anyone in days.
“It wasn’t right,” she said.

When Bhambra returned home, she went to Panghali’s house.
Bhambra testified that when she asked Panghali if they should hire a private investigator, he didn’t respond.
She said he also suggested that Manjit had an affair with a man named Tony and left with him.
“He just didn’t want us to be there,” Bhambra said of Panghali’s demeanour. “He wanted us out and he didn’t want to answer any more questions.”

On the Sunday after Manjit went missing, Panghali and his family went to Manjit’s parents’ house, Bhambra said.

She said Panghali told them Manjit was depressed and tried to kill herself.
He also said that Manjit sprayed bleach in his eyes.

“He was just disrespecting her and making her look really bad . . . He was just going on and on about what a bad person she was.”

At that meeting Bhambra said Panghali was defensive.
“He was acting like he was the victim,” she explained.
Bhambra said her older brother asked the Panghalis to leave.
The man Panghali thought his wife was having an affair with also testified Wednesday.
Sukhwinder (Tony) Phunal said he and Manjit “had a great friendship.”
Phunal and Manjit worked together at a sporting-goods store in the mid-1990s.
They reconnected after seeing each other at a wedding, and talked on the phone often.
They also had lunches, went on walks and saw each other at events.
“She looked up to me as an older brother, in a sense,” Phunal testified.
He said they talked about all sorts of things, including personal problems.
“Our friendship was based on trust and honesty,” Phunal said.
Phunal said Manjit phoned him a few days before she went missing, to talk about a walk they had been planning.

He said Manjit also told him that she had kicked Panghali’s brother out of her house, and that she was pregnant.
The trial continues.


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