Probe into 2015 Kotkapura firing incident not free from 'blemish': HC

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Chandigarh, Apr 23 (PTI) The Punjab and Haryana High court on Friday ruled that the investigation into the 2015 Kotkapura police firing incident conducted by IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh was not free from “blemish” and his “personal malice and malafide functioning was demonstrated on record”.

Justice Rajbir Sehrawat, in his 89-page judgement, said the investigation conducted by Singh suffered from “malice, irrationality and absurdity”.

“Hence, this court is of the considered opinion that this is one of the rare cases where the court is under duty to step-in to prevent miscarriage of justice, instill confidence in the investigation and also to pre-empt the misuse of the process of the court…,” the court said.

The court also ruled that Singh indulged in misuse of his official position to further his designs.

The high court had on April 9 quashed the probe report by Punjab Police's Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the 2015 Kotkapura police firing at people protesting against the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot’s Kotkapura in 2015.

The HC had directed the state government to set up a new SIT to investigate the case without the then IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, who resigned soon after the court order.

The court orders come on pleas by Gurdeep Singh, a former sub-inspector and then SHO of Kotkapura and another cop who had sought quashing of the subsequent FIR registered in August 2018.

The HC also made a reference to the claims of the probe report which mentioned the alleged conversation between the then chief minister (Parkash Singh Badal) through his OSD with the state police chief ahead of the police action on protesters.

It said the mere fact that the then CM talking to the district administration or DGP in the times of a situation where the law and order is disturbed, in itself, would not be sufficient to infer his conspiracy to kill or injure anybody through firing by the police upon the protestors, unless there is some other material collected by the investigating officer to establish prior meeting of minds for conspiracy and then directly linking the CM to such conspiracy.