Punjab to challenge HC order in 2015 Kotkapura incident

·3-min read

Chandigarh, Apr 10 (PTI) The Punjab government on Saturday said it will challenge the Punjab and Haryana High court order that quashed the state’s SIT probe report into the 2015 Kotkapura firing incident.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his government will challenge any adverse decision of the high court in the Supreme Court, asserting that the probe into the Kotkapura firing case was “totally fair, impartial and unbiased”.

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday had reportedly quashed the probe by a Punjab Police’s SIT into the 2015 Kotkapura firing at a gathering of Sikh demonstrators, protesting against the “sacrilegious” incidents of Guru Granth Sahib’s pages found strewn in Faridkot that year.

The bench of Justice Rajbir Sehrawat had also asked the state government to reconstitute the special investigation team without IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh.

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

The first FIR was registered in October 2015 in this case. They had also sought the removal of Kunwar Vijay from the SIT.

The SIT was probing the 2015 Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura police firing incidents. At Behbal Kalan, two people were killed in the police firing.

Reacting to the media reports on the high court order, the chief minister said he has directed the state government's legal team to examine the order as soon as its copy is available and move the apex court challenging it if either the SIT probe has been scrapped or its leader has been asked to be removed.

The CM said he has full faith in the state's legal team, headed by Siddharth Luthra, a senior advocate from Delhi who had appeared for the state in the case before the high court, the state government said in a statement.

The case will be taken to its logical conclusion and nobody, who is guilty, will be spared, irrespective of his political affiliation or position, the chief minister said.

He reiterated his “commitment” to fulfilling every single poll promise, including that of ensuring the much-awaited justice for the families of the victims of the firing case.

Expressing full confidence in SIT chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, and the probe conducted so far under his supervision, the CM said he was an extremely competent and experienced officer who had been working relentlessly on the case since the SIT was constituted.

The inquiry was being conducted in a completely fair and unprejudiced manner by the SIT under the leadership of Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, he said, adding neither changing the officer nor setting up a fresh SIT at this stage was acceptable to his government.

He said the investigations were in an advanced stage, with four charge sheets already filed against persons in the 2015 case.

The CM also slammed Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Badal, accusing him of continuing to play “dirty politics” over such a grave and sensitive issue.

Rejecting as “totally unwarranted and unfounded the allegations of the political witch-hunt against the Badals”, the CM said had he wanted to resort to the “malicious persecution” of his political rivals, he would have done it immediately after taking over and had not given them such a long rope.

“I and my party believe in a fair trial and it is because of it that every opposition party and leader in Punjab is freely criticising my government without any fear today,” he added.

On Sukhbir's charge of “wasting four years in a political investigation”, the chief minister said it was the BJP-led central government, of which the Akalis were a part that had been scuttling the probe into the case through the CBI, at the behest of SAD. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX