2015 sacrilege, police firing cases stuck in legal tangle

The newly constituted SIT probing the Kotkapura police firing incident has missed its six-month deadline to file a fresh charge-sheet
2015 sacrilege cases and the subsequent police firing investigation are all stuck; SIT probes into the three are practically going nowhere. (HT FILE)
2015 sacrilege cases and the subsequent police firing investigation are all stuck; SIT probes into the three are practically going nowhere. (HT FILE)
Published on Jan 09, 2022 08:44 PM IST
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ByParteek Singh Mahal

Faridkot The failure to take 2015 Bargari sacrilege, and the Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan police firing incidents to a logical conclusion even after completing its full term of five years in government may hurt the Congress party in the Punjab assembly polls. Significantly, ensuring justice in these politically sensitive issues was one of the major planks that the Congress had based its winning poll campaign on, in 2017.

Till recently, chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu have been raising the issue of justice in sacrilege and related cases in their poll rallies. Setbacks on the legal front, however, have left the three special investigation teams (SITs) with no option than to wait and watch.

The SIT probing 2015 sacrilege cases wanted to conduct custodial interrogation of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim by bring him to Punjab in connection with theft a bir of Guru Granth Sahib from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village. The Punjab and Haryana high court (HC), however, citing law and order problems, asked the SIT to question him at Sunaria jail in Rohtak and adjourned the matter to April 21.

SIT head IG Surinder Pal Singh Parmar said, “Ram Rahim’s custodial interrogation is important, as he is a key link to the conspiracy. The HC order to question him inside the jail will delay probe. We are taking legal opinion.”

8 months on, new SIT fails to file

charge-sheet in Kotkapura firing case

The newly constituted SIT probing the Kotkapura police firing incident has missed its six-month deadline to file a fresh charge-sheet. The SIT is in a fix in light of the HC staying investigations in cases pending against former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini till February 2022.

While quashing the charge-sheets filed by SIT led by former IG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, the HC directed that a new SIT be formed, with investigation to be concluded, preferably, within six months from the date of constitution.

Amid these legal tangles, the SIT is waiting for a date from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Gandhinagar, in Gujarat, to conduct a lie-detector test. Over six months ago, it had got suspended IG Paramraj Singh Umranangal’s consent to undergo a lie-detector test in connection with 2015 Kotkapura firing case. Saini and former Moga SSP Charanjit Singh Sharma had refused to undergo the test.

Charges yet to be framed in Behbal Kalan case

A trial court in Faridkot is yet to start hearing arguments for the framing of charges in the Behbal Kalan firing case. The court has exempted Saini from personal appearance following the HC order. Using this as a shield, other accused filed a number of applications for adjournment, delaying the process by over two months to date.

The Kunwar Vijay Pratap-led SIT had filed charge-sheets against seven accused, including five cops, in the Behbal Kalan firing case. The SIT had claimed that the cops opened fire at peaceful protesters on directions from Umranangal, who got instructions from Saini; later, both conspired to fabricate evidence, the SIT had claimed.

After Kunwar took voluntary retirement, the government formed a three-member SIT headed by IG Naunihal Singh to probe the Behbal Kalan firing case in May. To date, this SIT has not conducted any fresh investigation.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Parteek Singh Mahal is a multimedia correspondent based at Faridkot in Punjab. He covers medical education, politics and Punjab police.

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