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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Behbal Kalan police firing case: Punjab government reinstates suspended cop, gives him new posting

In 2018, Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission of Inquiry set up by then CM Amarinder Singh’s government had indicted police for unprovoked firing, and had named the four police officials in its report.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: November 7, 2021 10:59:41 am
In the meantime, Bikramjit submitted in his reply to the chargesheet that he had fallen ill on January 26, 2019 and was “advised bed rest till February 5, 2019 by Dr Mohinder Singh hospital at GT road in Bathinda”.

Amid the ongoing political slugfest in the Punjab Congress over alleged inaction in sacrilege incidents and subsequent police firing on protesters in 2015, the Punjab government has reinstated suspended SP Bikramjit Singh, who is accused in the Behbal Kalan police firing case, and posted him as SP (Technical Supports Services, Punjab) at police headquarters.

Bikramjit was among four police officials named as accused in October 14, 2015 Behbal Kalan police firing in which two anti-sacrilege protestors were killed. He was named as an accused in 2018 along with then Moga SSP Charanjit Sharma (now retired), then Inspector Pardip Singh and then Sub-Inspector Amarjit Singh in connection with an FIR lodged on October 21, 2015 against unidentified cops on charges which included murder (Section 302 IPC) and attempt to murder (Section 307 IPC).

In 2018, Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission of Inquiry set up by then CM Amarinder Singh’s government had indicted police for unprovoked firing, and had named the four police officials in its report.

While a senior government functionary said that Bikramjit was reinstated in July this year “following recommendation by then Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and then DGP”, Bikramjit when contacted over phone said that he had been “reinstated around 15 days ago only”.

Bikramjit said he had moved court to seek reinstatement and the court had also issued directions in his favour. He added that “before the next date of hearing in first week of December”, the Punjab government reinstated him.

While refusing to comment further, he said that it was for the state government to say anything more on the issue. Bikramjit added that his “prayers to the court had been answered”.

In the transfer orders issued by Punjab Home Department on Saturday for two IPS officers and 35 Punjab Police officers, the name of Bikramjit, a PPS officer, carries information of his “present posting” as “awaiting posting on re-instatement from suspension” and “against vacant post” of “SP Technical Supports Services, Pb, Chg”.

SP Bikramjit was suspended by an order dating back to March 20, 2019 “for not appearing before the Special Investigation Team probing Behbal Kalan police firing case registered at Bajakhana in 2015 and for remaining absent from duty, the official documents reveal, which also note that Bikramjit was placed under suspension with effect from January 28, 2019.

Official documents reveal that then DGP Dinkar Gupta requested Punjab government to “cancel the suspension orders” of Bikramjit and “reinstate” him by “adopting humanitarian approach following request for reinstatement by the official”.

The documents accessed by The Indian Express also reveal that it was also recommended to cancel the chargesheet issued to Bikramjit on June 14, 2019 for “not appearing before the SIT and for remaining absent from duty”.

The recommendation for cancellation of chargesheet cited Bikramjit’s reply where he stated that he had “requested for station leave from January 26, 2019 to January 27, 2019 for domestic reasons” and for “casual leave from January 28, 2019 to January 31, 2019 , in connection with which he was called by the commandant to come to his kothi (residence)”. The recommendation for cancellation of chargesheet against Bikramjit further noted that after Bikramjit met commandant at his (commandants’s) Sector 69 Mohali residence, he (Bikramjit) was given a “verbal approval” for leave and “in anticipation to sanction of leave” he (Bikramjit) proceeded on station leave.

In the meantime, Bikramjit submitted in his reply to the chargesheet that he had fallen ill on January 26, 2019 and was “advised bed rest till February 5, 2019 by Dr Mohinder Singh hospital at GT road in Bathinda”.

As per the official documents, Bikramjit further noted that “after a re-check in the wake of hypertension and depression” he was advised to take rest till February 19, 2019. The cop maintained that he had informed his senior officials about his illness on February 9, 2019 through emails. Bikramjit stated that he was informed to appear before the SIT on January 28, 2019 on WhatsApp following which he made a request to then Kapurthala SSP-cum-SIT member through email and joined office on February 16, 2019 and joined investigations five times before SIT from February 18, 2019 to March 25, 2019.

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