Sacrilege case: Miffed over calling 90-year-old Badal to SIT office, Akali Dal slams IGP

Chandigarh, November 16: Opposition SAD Thursday questioned the ‘professional competence and impartiality’ of IGP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh and sought his removal from the SIT, probing the 2015 police firings at two places in Faridkot at mobs protesting the state-wide sacrilege incidents.

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The SAD questioned IGP Singh’s “professional competence” for originally summoning 90-year-old former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to join the SIT probe at its Amritsar Circuit House office, saying that the law mandates examination of any male witness above 65 years of age at his residence only.

Though the SIT subsequently amended its November 9 summons with another one on November 12 asking him to report to SIT at the “place of his convenience”, it has failed to douse the Akalis’ fury.

“In the interest of the people of Punjab having faith in the fairness and credibility of the probe, it is absolutely imperative that Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh be removed from the SIT as its member,” said SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema.

Besides former Chief Minister Badal, the five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also summoned his son and former Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and actor Akshay Kumar.

While the Badal senior has been asked to appear before the SIT on November 16, the junior one has been summoned on November 19.

Akshay Kumar has been asked to appear before it on November 21.

All three had been originally asked to join the SIT probe at its Amritsar Circuit House office.

In a memorandum submitted to Punjab Chief secretary Thursday, the SAD demanded IGP Singh’s removal from the SIT, saying the summonses issued by the police officer was “against the mandate of law as section 160 of the CrPC requires that a male above 65 years of age could be examined as a witness at his place of residence and no where else.”

Chorus grows for action against accused of 2015 sacrilege incidents in Punjab

The SAD memorandum said the SIT subsequently sent another summons to the former chief minister on November 12, asking him to report to it at a “place of convenience”.

Quoting the stipulations of section 160 of the CrPC, SAD spokesperson Cheema said in the memorandum, “This further shows the IGP’s indifference to the law. These notices are clearly a result of some malice and bias in the mind of the officer for reasons purely political. Such indifference to law is not expected from an IGP-level officer who is expected to be well versed and conversant with the law,” Cheema said.

When contacted IGP Singh said, “This is not my personal battle with anybody. A large public interest is involved in the investigation of this case which is related to the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib. We are doing investigation in the most professional and efficient manner. Beyond this, I am not going to say anything in this regard.”

Cheema, however, said both the former CM Parkash Singh Badal and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal will fully cooperate with the SIT’s probe.

“We are more keen than anybody else that truth be fully brought out at the earliest. Both Prakash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal have always had the highest respect for the law of the land and are fully committed to abide by it,” said Cheema.

Source New Indian Express

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