Former SSP Charanjit Sharma arrested in Behbal Kalan firing case

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Chandigarh, January 27: Former Punjab SSP Charanjit Sharma was arrested from his house in Hoshiarpur on Sunday morning in connection with the Behbal Kalan police firing case that followed multiple incidents of sacrilege.

A Special Investigation Team inquiring into the incidents arrested him during the “raid” that took place at 2.30 am.

A government spokesperson said Sharma’s custodial questioning was required as the SIT had collected substantial evidence related to his actions that are believed to have lead to the police firing in which two persons were killed.

He was earlier suspended and compulsorily retired from service. Sharma, along with three other police officials, had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking protection from prosecution. The court turned down their request on January 24, asking them to join the investigation.

After recording statements of over 200 persons in the past four months in the police firing incidents at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, the SIT was waiting for the High Court to vacate the stay in proceedings against five police officers, including former Fazilka SP Bikramjit Singh and former Moga SSP Charanjit Singh Sharma.

Confirming Sharma’s arrest, Inspector General of Police Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said they had specific inputs that the accused was trying to flee to some undisclosed location.

“Former senior superintendent of police Charanjit Singh Sharma was arrested from his residence in Hoshiarpur by a Special Investigation Team of the Punjab Police,” Singh, who is also an SIT member, said.

He said Sharma had been asked to appear before the SIT on January 29, “but when we got the input that he was trying to flee to some unknown location, we carried out his arrest today (Sunday). Had we not arrested him in the morning, he would have fled by evening as he was trying to run away from the law”.

“We are conducting investigations and taking action as per law. During this period, Charanjit Singh Sharma and some others had filed a writ before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on which the court gave its verdict recently,” he said.

Sharma was leading a police party that allegedly opened fire at the anti-sacrilege protesters at Behbal Kalan on October 14, 2015.