Senior Punjab cops involved in Behbal Kalan firing, case handed over to CBI || SNE
By India Today .
Jul 31, 2018
The Punjab government on Monday decided to hand over the investigation of Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing incidents to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after receiving the first part of justice Ranjit Singh Commission report. According to the report, some senior and junior level state police officers have been found guilty of firing at innocent protestors in 2016.
Senior Punjab police officers have been accused of lathi charge and firing at the protesters after the infamous Bargari sacrilege incident.
“We have received one part of the Commission report in which some serving and some retired cops have been indicted. We will be handing over the probe to CBI to investigate the role of police officers. We will table the report in the house when all four parts are available,” Captain Amarinder Singh said after reading the first part of the Commission report in the press conference.
“The decision has been taken to ensure an impartial and objective investigation after registering a case under Section 307 of IPC. The role of all the police officers named by the Commission will be probed by the CBI and all documents related to the incidents will be handed over to the agency. Very senior officers could be involved so it was felt that the matter was best investigated by the CBI,” Singh added.
The chief minister said the commission, in its first report, has recommended appropriate action against the then SDM Kotkapura and those police officials who, though not apparently guilty of any criminal act, were nevertheless seen to be responsible for police action.
A number of police officers have been found liable for failing to carry out proper and fair investigations of incidents of sacrilege and in the cases which were registered regarding the use of force at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan. The commission has recommended appropriate action in accordance with law against all such officials.
Several police officers found guilty of firing in the report
The commission has, in particular, mentioned the role of Inspector Pardip Singh, SI Arriarjit Singh, and SSP Bikramjit Singh and recommended them to be named as accused in FIR number 130 Police Station Baja Khanna and their role be thoroughly investigated which has not happened so far.
The role of gunman Charanjit Singh Sharma has also been cited in this context and the commission has recommended that his role, and that of Constable Shamsher Singh, Constable Harpreet Singh, Constable Gurpreet Singh and Constable Parminder Singh, as also of Inspector Harpal Singh SHO Ladowal, be thoroughly investigated as they were carrying assault rifles at Behbal Kalan.
The role of the Commando Police for use of indiscriminate lathi-charge, causing injuries to the number of persons, has also been recommended to be investigated, which has not been done till date.
The chief minister also announced compensation and jobs for the victims and their families who were killed and injured in police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan that took place on October 14, 2015.
“The government has decided to enhance the compensation amount on the basis of the recommendation made by the commission, whose report was legally examined by Advocate General Atul Nanda before being considered by the government,” Captain said.
The government has, however, raised the compensation amount for the families of the two deceased from Rs 75 lakhs as recommended by the commission to Rs 1 crore each, whereas the compensation for the seriously injured S Beant Singh has been raised from Rs 35 lakh as recommended by the commission, to Rs 50 lakh.
A member of each of their families would also be offered a job in the government, said the chief minister.
Further, the compensation for S Ajit Singh, who has been incapacitated for life, has been raised from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 60 lakh. He would also be provided with an attendant and reimbursement of medical expenses, the Chief Minister disclosed.
All other injured in the firing incidents would be given Rs 10 lakh each, Captain Amarinder announced, adding that the government had decided on these measures as part of its efforts to instill a sense of justice in the general public, though it could not, unfortunately, bring back the people who had lost their lives.
The Commission of Enquiry headed by Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh had submitted its first (part-I) report on June 30 2018.
Though the full report is awaited, the government has decided to accept the recommendations made by the Commission so far, said Captain Amarinder.
The CM said a special session of the house will be called only when the government receives the full report since action taken report cannot be tabled on a partial report.
The complete report, running into 182 pages with thousands of pages of evidence, will be in four parts and all four would be tabled in the house with the action taken a report, he said.
Captain Amarinder told media persons that the government had agreed outright to the commission’s recommendations to provide monetary compensation and jobs to the affected persons.
The Punjab government had set up the Justice (retd) Ranjit Singh Commission in April last year to investigate the incidents of sacrilege of holy Guru Granth Sahib and other religious texts.
The government had rejected the findings of the Zora Singh Commission set up by Akali Dal government, saying its findings had been “inconclusive.”