Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was on Tuesday questioned at his official residence here by the SIT probing the 2015 Kotkapura police firing incident in Faridkot. The Punjab Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) reached Badal’s Sector 4 MLA flat and questioned him for nearly two-and-a-half hours.
The Punjab government had formed the new SIT led by Additional Director General of Police L K Yadav to probe the Kotkapura police firing incident following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Senior SAD leaders including Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Daljit Singh Cheema, besides SGPC chief Jagir Kaur were present at Badal’s residence.
Addressing the media, the SAD leaders said Badal cooperated with the SIT, like he had done when a previous investigation team had questioned him two years ago. They said that at the time of the previous SIT, whose report was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the investigations were conducted in a politically motivated manner and even now the agenda was allegedly politically driven.
The SIT had rescheduled the questioning after the 93-year-old Badal had expressed his inability to appear before it at a rest house in Mohali on June 16, saying he is not keeping good health. ..Still not in good health, Badal, however, is keen to fulfil his legal and constitutional duties as a law abiding citizen of the country, Harcharan Bains, principal adviser to the Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal, had earlier said.
Prakash Singh Badal was the CM when incidents of desecration of a religious text and police firing at people protesting against it took place in Faridkot in 2015. The new SIT is investigating the two FIRs registered on October 14, 2015 and August 7, 2018 in connection with the Kotkapura incident.
The high court had on April 9 this year quashed a report by an earlier Punjab Police SIT. The court had then directed the state government to set up a new SIT without Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, an Indian Police Service officer who was part of the earlier team.
Singh took voluntary retirement after the court order and on Monday he had joined the Aam Aadmi Party in Amritsar in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. High court quashed the previous SIT’s report. We had said that previous SIT under Kunwar Vijay Pratap was having political agenda, which has now been proved as a day earlier the officer, who took premature retirement, has joined the AAP, said Grewal.
He charged that the fresh SIT head L K Yadav was promoted overnight as ADGP to head the new SIT…The government’s agenda is not to deliver justice, but political. What is also objectionable is that Director Prosecution Vijay Singla, a retired officer, has been made part of the new SIT. He is not associated with SIT. Does it not prove the government is playing politics?. Did they take court permission to make him part of SIT and co-opt him, Grewal asked.
He said that attempts were also being made to “intermingle" Kotkapura firing case and sacrilege cases. Cheema said the SAD has been maintaining that investigation being conducted is politically motivated. And even now it is politically driven.
Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh was acting as an undercover agent of Amarinder Singh and Arvind Kejriwal, which has been proved now with his joining AAP, Cheema alleged. Police had also opened fire at a similar demonstration in Behbal Kalan, also in Faridkot, where two people were killed.
A separate probe is underway in that case. The previous SIT had questioned Badal in 2018. At that time, Badal had said that the SIT was politically motivated to defame him.
The new SIT has already questioned former DGP Sumedh Saini and some other police officers.