In the latest interim report on alleged false cases registered during previous SAD-BJP regime, the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Mehtab Singh Gill (retd) has recommended departmental probe into the role of officials of mining department and police in a 2015 case in which Lok Insaf Party leader Simarjit Singh Bains was booked along with others over a protest against alleged illegal mining.
The report, which was submitted to Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on Friday, is the twenty-first interim report in the matter. Bains and others named in the case were acquitted by a Ludhiana court last year in the case.
The probe panel noted that the “FIR was registered due to political vendetta against them (Bains and others) and it was a case of highhandedness of the police and mining officers acted in connivance with police at the instance of then ruling party.” The commission in its order dated March 6 further noted, “In these circumstances, we recommend that departmental enquiry be ordered against the Mining Officer Manjit Singh and General Manager Mahesh Khanna by the higher Mining Authority, and against the police officers by DGP, Punjab or by a senior police officer to be nominated by him and if they are found at fault, strict disciplinary action should be initiated against them.”
Bains in his complaint to the commission had sought action against SHO Rajwant Singh, SHO Gurmit Singh, Mining Officer Manjit Singh, Mining Authority Mahesh Khanna and then Commissioner of Police Promod Ban.
“Complainant, his brother (Balwinder Singh Bains) and his companions raised their voice against sand mafia, drug mafia and transport mafia. They repeatedly told the ruling party that sand mafia at their behest is selling the sand from the river beds and that the ruling party should control the activities of theses mafias, as they were looting the property of the state,” the commission has noted.
Bains and others were booked under various sections of IPC and under sections of Mining and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act 1957 at Meherban police station in Ludhiana district on April 17, 2015 as they enacted the practice of illegal sand mining during a protest in Chuharwal village. Attempt to murder charge was also added in the case later.
Bains, when contacted, said officials indulging in registration of false cases should be taught a lesson. “Eleven FIRs were registered against me and I was sent to jail five times for different durations of time. I will ensure that the officers involved in other cases are not spared either.”
The complaint of Bains was among the three complaints allowed by the commission in the interim report submitted to CM on Friday. In the report, the commission decided 103 complaints, dismissing 100 out of those.
After it was constituted by the incumbent Congress government and submitted its first report on August 23, 2017, out of 3,306 complaints the commission received so far, 418 were allowed and 2,888 dismissed.
The commission returned another 224 complaints received from the Home Department while observing that those were beyond its jurisdiction. Recommendations made by the commission have been implemented in 326 cases and cancellation of FIRs have been filed in courts in 209 cases, the latest interim report noted, adding that “action against the erring police officers/officials has been taken in 15 cases and compensation has been processed in 30 cases”.
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