A local court on Monday acquitted SGPC member Kulbir Singh Barapind in a sedition case registered against him by the Goraya police.
The case was filed against him in September, 2012 for allegedly waging war against the state and indulging into unlawful activities.
The court of additional district and sessions judge Mandeep Singh Dhillon also acquitted two co-accused in the case --Sandeep Singh of Saifabad village in Jalandhar and Sukhwinder Singh of Ronko Khurd in Ludhiana.
After his acquittal, Barapind, who is also president of Akali Dal Panch Pardhani (ADPP,) said that that he was framed in the case by Jalandhar police under a conspiracy hatched by by the leaders of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as he had contested the SGPC election as an independent and defeated the SAD candidate from Phillaur constituency in 2011.
Defence counsel Darshan Singh Dyal said that police had produced two persons, Dharam Pal and Varinder, as witnesses in this case, claiming that they had heard about Barapind's alleged role in Khalistani movement and that he preached separatist ideas in their village. However, both of them stated in the court that they had never heard such things, he added.
Dyal further claimed though the police had alleged that seditious literature was recovered from the house of Barapind, but they failed to investigate about the printer of the literature. The other things, he said, the police recovered from the SGPC member's house were sealed security camera, two night-vision binoculars, three laptops, a video camera, a digital camera, two walkie talkie sets, two bullet-proof jackets and a red beacon. He said, "We claimed in the court that anybody can keep such things at home".
Nawanshahr police had taken Barapind into preventive custody in view of the NDA's call for Bharat Bandh on September 20, 2012. He was later lodged in Ludhiana jail.
On September 21, around 40 police vehicles reached Barapind village in the wee hours and conducted a search at his two houses in the village in the presence of his wife Khushveer Kaur and his parents.
The police party later claimed that Barapind was planning to indulge in militant activities and an FIR was lodged against him under sections 121 (waging war against the state), 121A (conspiracy to wage war against the state) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, section 3/4/5 of the Explosives Act, section 25 of the Arms Act and various sections of the IPC.
Barapind was extradited from the US in June 2006 in the wake of his alleged involvement in as many as 32 criminal cases in India. He was later acquitted in three of these cases by different courts.
He was also booked in the murder of former state minister Darshan Singh, father of former MP and Congress leader Mohinder Singh Kaypee.
Various cases were registered against Barapind under charges of murder, attempt to murder, the Arms Act and TADA between 1991 to 1993. Most of these crimes were committed in Phillaur, Goraya and Nurmahal areas of Jalandhar district.