Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Monday said the state government had decided to hand over to the CBI the probe into Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan police firing in 2015 — that killed two persons — after the Bargari desecration incident.
Addressing mediapersons here, Amarinder said he had accepted the recommendation of Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh Commission for a further probe into the case.
Responding to a question on why the Punjab police could not conduct a further probe, Amarinder said as the Commission had indicted “some very senior police officers”, it was not appropriate for any officer of the uniformed force to conduct an inquiry into the role of senior colleagues.
Amarinder refused to answer a question on why the probe could not be handed over to the Punjab DGP, the senior-most officer of the state police. “I will not answer this question,” he said.
It took 15 months for the Commission, constituted in April last year, to hand over the first part of a four-part probe report. The Chief Minister said the Commission “recommended appropriate action against the then SDM Kotkapura and those police officers who, though not apparently guilty of any criminal act, were nevertheless seen to be responsible for police action.”
Amarinder named police officers held guilty by the Commission for failing to carry out proper and fair investigations of incidents of desecration and in the cases that were registered regarding use of force at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan.
He said the Commission had, in particular, mentioned the role of inspector Pardip Singh, sub-inspector Arriarjit Singh, and SSP Bikramjit Singh and recommended them to be named as accused in FIR No. 130 Police Station Baja Khanna and their role be thoroughly investigated, which has not happened so far. The CM also named gunman Charanjit Singh Sharma, whose named appears in the Commission’s report. Besides, the Commission has said constables Shamsher Singh, Harpreet Singh, Gurpreet Singh and 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 indiscriminate lathi-charge, causing injuries to number of persons, had also been recommended to be investigated, which had not been done till date, said Amarinder. He declined to make public the report, saying the 100-odd-page document, with thousands of pages of annexures, would be tabled in next session of Vidhan Sabha along with Action Taken Report. “There is no point in tabling just the first part of the report. The other parts would also be submitted in two-three weeks and we will table them in the next session.”
The Chief Minister also announced compensation and jobs for the affected people in the police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan on October 14, 2015. He said they decided to enhance the compensation amount from that recommended by the Commission, whose report was legally examined by Advocate General Atul Nanda before being considered by the government.
He said the government had raised the compensation amount for the families of the two deceased from Rs 75 lakh as recommended by the Commission to Rs 1 crore each, whereas the compensation for the seriously injured 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.
Similarly, Ajit Singh, who has been incapacitated for life, will be given an ex-gratia of Rs 60 lakh agianst Rs 40 lakh recommended by the commission. He would also be provided an attendant and reimbursement of medical expenses, the Chief Minister said.
All other injured in the firing incidents would be given Rs 10 lakh each, he said.
CBI is already probing other cases of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib that were handed over to the central agency by the state government earlier.
In the first part of the report, the Commission has covered incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib at villages Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Bargari, Gurusar and Mallke on and around and police action involving firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan.
Amarinder had, in a pre-poll promise ensured justice in desecration and police firing cases. He had constituted the commission in April last year after rejecting the SAD-BJP government’s Zora Singh Commission report.
A few days ago, a delegation of Congress MLAs and ministers had also met the CM asking him to take action against the guilty in probe report stating the delay may caste a shadow on the party’s political fortunes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.