IG Kunwar Vijay may have acted to fulfil his political ambitions: HC on Kotkapura firing challan
Setting aside the chargesheets submitted by the Punjab Police’s special investigation team (SIT) in the 2015 Kotkapura firing case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court questioned the impartiality of inspector general of police (IGP) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh.
The court not only picked holes in the challans but also questioned the manner in which the officer, who resigned from Indian Police Service (IPS) recently, carried out the investigation.
“Seeing this conduct of the respondent (Kunwar Vijay), one may harbour an idea that he may be indulging in theatrics to fulfil his own post-retirement political ambitions as several officers have done after demitting office,” the bench of Justice Rajbir Sehrawat observed.
There appears a close nexus between political leaders and the IGP while carrying out the investigation, it said. “He has gone to the heights of his fantasy when he brought in film actor Akshay Kumar into the picture claiming him a part of a conspiracy citing a film ‘Singh is Bling’ that he produced and tried to exhibit it in Punjab,” the bench said.
The court also questioned the manner in which the IGP wrote a letter to the district and sessions judge, Faridkot, “on administrative side” demanding that no case pertaining to sacrilege and police firing be listed in future before a chief judicial magistrate who he claimed had close family ties with former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
“But no details of alleged link were mentioned in the letter. He could have moved an application on “judicial side” in any court as permitted by the law during investigation and not on ‘administrative side’, making a complaint against the chief judicial magistrate,” the court pointed out.
The bench also took note of a case in which the high court had reprimanded the IGP.
“The documents amply show that the respondent has a tendency to misuse his official position while performing his duty,” it said, pointing to a case in which he converted cases purely civil in nature into criminal matter in three instances to pressurise the victims.
The bench has also come down heavily on the IGP’s interviews to the media during the 2019 general elections when he named the Badals and questioned their role in the 2015 violence.
“He named certain political rivals to the ruling dispensation in the state. Allegations about their role in the sacrilege and police firing incidents were highlighted by the respondentknowing fully well that such interviews at such a juncture will enhance the electoral prospects for a political party at the cost of the other,” the judge added.
Kunwar Vijay even tried to browbeat the petitioners’ lawyer and made absurd comments against the senior counsel, he said.
“Hence, the court is of the view that the respondent indulges in misuse of his official position to further his designs; makes attempt to overawe the processes. The petitioners are right in arguing that he cannot be trusted to be impartial and unbiased as a probe officer,” the bench said.