SIT ques­tions for­mer CPS Man­tar Brar, then Kotka­pura SDM, DSP

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Punjab - Ga­gan­deep Jas­sowal ga­gan­ ■

FARID­KOT: The spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion team (SIT) of Pun­jab Po­lice prob­ing the 2015 Kotka­pura and Be­hbal Kalan po­lice fir­ing cases on Fri­day quizzed for­mer chief par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary and Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal leader Man­tar Singh Brar, then Kotka­pura sub-divi­sional mag­is­trate Har­jit Singh Sandhu and then Kotka­pura deputy su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice Baljit Singh at the camp of­fice in Farid­kot.

Brar had failed to turn up be­fore the probe team on Novem­ber 1 cit­ing per­sonal rea­sons.

The Pun­jab gov­ern­ment on Septem­ber 10 formed a five-mem­ber SIT to look into al­leged po­lice fir­ing on anti-sac­ri­lege protesters at Be­hbal Kalan and Kotka­pura in Oc­to­ber 2015. Ad­di­tional direc­torate gen­eral of po­lice (bu­reau of in­ves­ti­ga­tion) Pra­bodh Ku­mar is head­ing the SIT. The other mem­bers are in­spec­tor gen­eral (crime) Arun­pal Singh, IG (crime) Kun­war Vi­jay Pratap Singh, Ka­purthala SSP Satin­der Singh and com­man­dant, Pun­jab Po­lice Re­cruits Train­ing Cen­tre, Bhupin­der Singh.

Dur­ing ques­tion­ing, Brar said that for­mer chief min­is­ter Parkash Singh Badal di­rected the ad­min­is­tra­tion to deal with the sit­u­a­tion peace­fully.

The SIT also videographed the pro­ceed­ings un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Kun­war Vi­jay Pratap Singh.

The state­ment of sub-divi­sional mag­is­trate Har­jit Sandhu, then posted in Kotka­pura, as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance as the Jus­tice Ran­jit Singh (retd) Com­mis­sion, which probed sac­ri­lege and sub­se­quent po­lice fir­ing cases, rec­om­mended ac­tion against him.

The probe team, which has to sub­mit a sta­tus re­port in the Pun­jab and Haryana high court on Novem­ber 14, started in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the case on Oc­to­ber 12. Last week, the SIT recorded state­ments of then Bathinda IG Ji­ten­dra Jain and then Lud­hi­ana po­lice com­mis­sioner Param­raj Singh Um­ranan­gal, who were among se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers present on the spot when po­lice opened fire on the anti-sac­ri­lege protesters in Kotka­pura on Oc­to­ber 14, 2015.

IG Kun­war Vi­jay Pratap Singh con­firmed the de­vel­op­ment and said: “We have recorded the state­ments and ex­am­ined the per­sons con­cerned. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way and will reach a con­clu­sion soon.”

For­mer Kotka­pura MLA Brar told the probe them that he was not present at spot when the fir­ing in­ci­dent took place. He, how­ever, shared de­tails with the SIT re­gard­ing his talks with the chief min­is­ter, di­rec­tor gen­eral po­lice and district ad­min­is­tra­tion be­fore the fir­ing in­ci­dent.

“Badal di­rected the ad­min­is­tra­tion to defuse the sit­u­a­tion peace­fully. Even I also asked au­thor­i­ties not to use force on anti-sac­ri­lege protesters,” said Brar, in­sist­ing that the SAD gov­ern­ment never or­dered fir­ing.

As per the Jus­tice (retd) Ran­jit Singh Com­mis­sion re­port, Brar re­mained in the touch with the CM and the district ad­min­is­tra­tion on the night be­fore the fir­ing. Fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions of the re­port, po­lice reg­is­tered an FIR on Au­gust 7, 2018, against uniden­ti­fied per­sons un­der at­tempt to mur­der on the state­ment of Ajit Singh, who re­ceived bul­let in­juries dur­ing the po­lice fir­ing.


■ Man­tar Brar

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