THE wife of the Scot held in India on murder plot charges has spoken out for the first time since he was bundled off the street just weeks after their “dream” wedding.

Jagtar Singh Johal was arrested and detained by plain clothes police in the Punjab region a year ago today.

READ MORE: Is Foreign Office fudging Jagtar case for sake of post-Brexit deals?

The 31-year-old – who is backed by human rights campaign Redress – claims to have been tortured by the authorities, who allege he helped finance the killings of right-wing Hindu figures, and funded a proscribed group.

But after 60 court appearances, no evidence has been led against him and his family fear the judicial process is being prolonged indefinitely.

Now they are renewing their appeal to Scots and the UK Government as they mark 365 days since the day he was taken into custody.

And his wife, who had planned to build a life with Jagtar in Scotland, reveals her torment for the first time.

The 30-year-old, who remains in India and has concerns about her own safety, has spoken exclusively to the Sunday National on the condition that we do not reveal her name.

The couple currently see each other just once a week in a meeting that is sometimes as short as 10 minutes.

The round trip to the prison takes Jagtar’s wife six hours.

“After having my dream wedding, I was looking forward to spending time with my husband,” she said. “Instead I have had to spend months in hiding, separated from him.

“I wake up each day thinking my husband is at the door, waiting for the car to take us to the airport for our flight to the UK.

“Jagtar and I are very grateful for the support of the public and their efforts to secure his release.”

The couple fell for each other after being introduced by family members as part of an arranged marriage.

The National:

A nephew of Jagtar Singh Johal holds a photograph of imprisoned his uncle. Photograph: Colin Mearns 

Jagtar, known to supporters as Jaggi, travelled to India with close relatives for Sikh festival Vaisakhi in April 2017, when he met his prospective fiancee for the first time.

She would go on to tell her family that she wanted to marry him whether they liked him or not, and, with all parties agreed, the pair wed in a lavish ceremony attended by more than 1000 people in October last year.

But just a fortnight later, Jagtar was taken into custody while shopping with his wife and cousin.

Back at home in Dumbarton – where Jagtar’s room remains untouched – his older brother Gurpreet learned the news in a frantic early-morning call and initially feared his sibling had been abducted by a gang.

“It was a big wedding, he had come from the UK, everyone knew,” Gurpreet said. “I thought there was a financial motive and it could have been anyone.

“I went into problem-solving mode. You can sit there crying or try and do something about it.

“The first thing you do is phone your authorities, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) didn’t have any information.”

Gurpreet used personal connections to find his brother was in the custody of Punjabi police, who claim Jagtar had been on their radar for more than a year before the arrest.

It is claimed that the internet marketer handed over £3000 to a man during a 2013 trip to France, with that money then used to fund targeted killings four years later.

The man said to have received the sum has since died in jail.

Jagtar, who contributed to a website dedicated to the 1984 Sikh genocide, in which 3000 died, is also said to have used the internet to radicalise others.

The National:

His family believe he is innocent and Gurpreet, pictured above, says the ordeal has turned his young sons – who have a close bond with their uncle – against the country of their forebearers.

“It hurts me when they say they hate India,” Gurpreet said. “How can you explain all this to kids?

“They wrote him a letter saying ‘we love you, we miss you, we want you back’.

“We had to tell the school, and they’ve been great. We’ve a lot of support in Dumbarton – the barber tells his clients about Jagtar, the guys at the gym where he trained know about him.

“The Scottish media have covered the case, but it hasn’t had mainstream UK coverage, even though we’ve chapped at the doors.

“Other cases of Britons held abroad have been covered much more quickly. As a solicitor, I don’t want to say it’s colour.”

The family are more critical of the UK Government than the media.

While two men have held the post of foreign secretary in the past year – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – neither has met with the family, though Foreign Office minister Rory Stewart pledged “extreme action” would be taken if Jagtar’s torture claims were proven.

And despite a written statement alleging that he was subjected to electric shocks and “body separation techniques”, no independent medical examination has taken place.

India has rejected a UK request for leniency and Indian authorities have yet to respond to two letters from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

However, the UK Sikh community has mobilised behind the family, with the #FreeJaggiNow campaign gaining support in the US and Canada.

Suresh Arora, Punjab state director general of police, has called the campaign “unfortunate”, telling the Hindustan Times: “We have arrested Johal after thorough investigation.

“In my career of more than 35 years, I have not found any relative of an accused who admits that his or her relative has committed a crime.”

Supporters will gather at the Central Gurdwara in Glasgow to pray for Jagtar on Sunday.

And in a message to readers of this newspaper, Gurpreet said that his brother’s case should be of national interest. “We need the Scottish people to support us on this,” he

said. “It’s Jagtar today: Tomorrow it could be you. Just because you are British doesn’t mean our rights are protected abroad. It’s evident now that having that red passport doesn’t mean anything.

“He has a right to a fair trial. We’ll continue to raise his voice.”

For Gurpreet, this means repaying his brother for the moral and financial support that helped him secure his law qualifications.

The National:

Jagtar stepped in to help dad Jasbir, pictured above, run the family’s takeaway business as Gurpreet pursued his dream job, also using money earned by trading highly collectible Pokemon cards to help pay for the certifications.

Even if he hadn’t, Gurpreet says, he’d never walk away. “It doesn’t matter if you hate your brother or love your brother,” he told this newspaper, “He’s still your brother.

“After his arrest, I cried myself to sleep. I was broken when I heard about the torture, but reading his written statement was worse. He said those two months were like 10 years of hell.

“People say he must have done something, or why would they have arrested him ... But if they have evidence, why haven’t we seen it?

“I believe they need Jagtar to make the conspiracy claim. Without him, there’s no international angle, because everyone else they’ve arrested is Indian. His research about 1984 made him a soft target.”

The FCO said: “Our staff continue to support a British man and his family following his detention in Punjab.

“We continue to visit him regularly, and raise concerns with the government of India about his case, including allegations of torture and mistreatment and his right to a fair trial.”