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Terror left Sargun Ragi nowhere to hide - and she was killed by her estranged husband Avjit Singh

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Terror left Sargun Ragi nowhere to hide - and she was killed by her estranged husband Avjit Singh

  • Wayne Flower
  • From:Herald Sun
  • October 09, 2012 12:00AM



ABANDONED by her family, alone, frightened and brutalised by her husband, Sargun Ragi put her faith in the justice system - and died for it.




Murdered young wife betrayed

While still the subject of a police investigation, theHerald Sun has been told she was stabbed to death by her estranged husband, Avjit Singh, who burnt her body before killing himself in the inferno.The vibrant 23-year-old, who had dreams of becoming a travel agent, arrived in Australia on May 24 and died last Thursday in the Kew home she had lived in for just three days.

Her last weeks of life have been described as nothing short of hell on Earth.

The Herald Sun successfully applied to the courts and won the right to reveal the contents of the intervention order that had been granted to try to protect her.

The intervention order, which was issued in the Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court on August 20, three days after her 23rd birthday, revealed police held grave concerns for Ms Ragi.

"The affected family member is in fear for her life and believes her husband will kill her," the order stated. "Police have grave concerns for the welfare of (Ms Ragi) and believe she is vulnerable and in imminent danger."

The document states Ms Ragi had been in an arranged marriage in India about a year ago but had lived in Australia for only a short while.

Her unhappy marriage went from bad to worse when she formed a relationship with one of her husband's friends about two weeks before the intervention order was granted.

Ms Ragi was subjected to a prolonged period of false imprisonment, rapes, beatings and starvation.

Court documents show her husband treated Ms Ragi like an unwanted possession, locking her inside his Fawkner unit and giving her food only once a day.

The 31-year-old taxi driver, who had lived in Australia for the past eight years, is claimed to have had many extra-marital affairs, but his wife's affair was seen as the ultimate betrayal.

"(Ms Ragi) claims that she is beaten on a daily basis because of the affair. (She) also states that the respondent has sex with her daily and if she refuses to have sex with him he beats her," the intervention order stated.

"The respondent has taken the AFM (affected family member's) phone off her ... has kept the AFM locked inside the unit where they are now living and will not let her leave the house and locks her in with a key."

The document goes on to report Ms Ragi sustained injuries from the assaults on her legs and it was believed she had been the victim of a serious sexual assault.

Ms Ragi was given a chance of freedom when she was discovered by a concerned landlord on August 16.

Two good Samaritans, appalled by the terrified woman's plight, took her in, and gave her shelter in their home for seven weeks before finding the Kew home where she was tragically murdered by her husband, just three days after moving in.

A source close to the case claimed Singh breached the intervention order many times in the weeks before her murder, and that both Ms Ragi and her friend notified police of the breaches.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said Ms Ragi contacted police three times to report she had received phone calls, believed to be from an international number, as well as calls from a private number where the caller hung up upon her answering, and text messages from a person known to Singh.

"On one occasion she received a call directly from the male who was subject to the IVO," she said.

"Police investigated each of these contacts; however, it could not be established at the time who had instigated the calls or messages.

"These investigations were continuing."

On September 24, 10 days before Ms Ragi was murdered, she appeared again at Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court where the matter was adjourned to December 4 for a contested hearing.

Police confirmed Ms Ragi attended the Fawkner police station a day later to formally report the breaches and make a statement.

"At no time did police receive reports that the woman was being followed or otherwise harassed and her primary concern was that the man stop calling her," the spokeswoman said.

How Singh was able to track down his wife's new address in Kew so quickly, and how police reacted to her calls for help, are likely to be the subject of a coronial inquest. But for the few who took pity on Ms Ragi, the outcome will not offer any real peace.

The source said: "The judicial system let this girl down badly. They didn't take the allegation of rape seriously ... they didn't take the situation of her being at risk seriously, they didn't take the numerous breaches of the intervention seriously.

"I would have thought that once you'd breached an intervention you're immediately arrested ... it was continuous harassment from the day (she was rescued) to the day that she died.

"It was total harassment and it was reported to the police on numerous occasions, and more particularly on the 24th of September."

The source said it was not the first time the justice system had got it wrong, and it would not be the last.

"I'm very disappointed in how police have handled this from start to finish," he said.

"But what do you do?

"How are we going to change this?"




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