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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Punjab: More trouble for ex-DGP Saini, now an accused in 2015 Kotkapura firing

The nomination in the case comes days after Saini was named as an accused in the Behbal Kalan police firing case.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar | October 11, 2020 3:52:59 am
2015 Kotkapura firing case, Sumedh Singh Saini, ex-DGP Saini, SIT probe, Chandigarh news, Indian express newsSumedh Singh Saini

More trouble piled up for Sumedh Singh Saini with a Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the Kotkapura police firing of 2015, nominating the former Punjab Director General of Police as an accused in related case registered at Kotakpura city police station in 2018.

The nomination in the case comes days after Saini was named as an accused in the Behbal Kalan police firing case.

Two incidents of police firing were reported from Behbal Kalan and Kotakpura in Faridkot on October 14, 2015. Both incidents were part of police action against Sikh protesters, who were on dharna against sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib. Two people were killed at Behbal Kalan.

The case in which Saini was nominated Friday names five other accused – former inspector general of police Paramraj Umranangal, then DSP Kotakpura Baljit Singh, then SHO Kotakpura Gurdeep Singh Pandher, along with then ADCP Ludhiana Paramjit Singh Pannu and then Kotakpura MLA Mantar Singh Brar named as accused.

Earlier, last year on May 28, the SIT headed by IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh produced a challan in Faridkot Court mentioning the statement of executive magistrate on duty on October 14, 2015 at Kotkapura Chowk, Harjit Singh Sandhu.

“In my considered opinion Paramraj Singh Umranangal, in command at the place of dharna, was visible in taking orders from seniors on telephone and giving orders to the officers present at spot,” as per Sandhu’’s statement.

Later, SIT found that Umranangal was allegedly taking direct instructions from Saini. Also, the SIT claimed in challan that Umranangal was deputed out of his jurisdiction at Kotakpura.

Challan reads, “Sumedh Singh Saini has been examined by a SIT on February 25, 2019… (he) could not explain how and under what circumstances he deputed Paramraj Singh Umranangal at Kotkapura/Faridkot. The investigations reveals, on the basis of his telephonic conversation with then Punjab CM, Mantar Singh Brar and Paramraj Singh Umranangal, that there was a prior meeting of minds between these persons to use force at Kotkapura and furtherance of that meeting of minds. Overnight force was called from Ludhiana by Paramraj Umranangal.”

A letter dated March 3, 2019 by Punjab DGP office, along with two letters from ADGP security and law & order, reveals that there was no order to depute Paramraj Singh Umranangal to Kotkapura for law and order duty on October 12, 13 and 14, 2015.

“Umranangal had overnight called at least 182 officers from his place of posting (Ludhiana) directly who were first deputed at Kotkapura and later at Behbal Kalan in his own command under the supervision of ADCP Paramjit Singh Pannu, who was otherwise also posted in Ludhiana under him,” reads the challan.

The SIT also gave details of 20 telephonic calls between then Punjab DGP and Umranangal from 4 am to 9:23 am on October 14, 2015.

Mantar Brar started receiving calls from Saini at 3:19 am. He received a second call at 3:22 am, which lasted 838 seconds. Saini made last call to Brar after around two-and-a-half hours at 5:59am, which lasted for 537 seconds.

“It is evident that MLA Brar remained busy on the phones since 2 am till the firing took place in the early morning of October 14, 2015. Calls of 838 and 537 seconds duration with then DGP show that both were planning to carry forward the plan of firing and dispersing the people sitting on dharna, which he earlier planned with then Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal in an illegal and unlawful manner,” reads the challan.

It says, “Brar had called or received a call 157 times with various persons during the period from 5 pm on October 13 to 1 pm on October 14. Out of these, 102 calls (were made) during the period 8 pm October 13 to 11am next day. It shows that he remained very much involved in the process and in touch with many persons including officers of the rank of SHO to DGP and then CM during the intervening night of October 13 and 14 when police action was taken early in the morning at Kotakoura on October 14 and after the firing took place at the Behbal Kalan.”

Saini had stated in his reply to Justice Ranjit Singh Commission in 2018 that during the intervening night of October 13 and 14, “I spoke to various officers present at Kotkapura in connection with the law and order situation there. At about 2 am the then CM rung up regarding the situation and the steps being taken, since the issue at Kotkapura was of state concern.”

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