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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Punjab: Top cop who refused to sign sacrilege SIT report seeks central deputation

The request by Special DGP (provisioning) Prabodh Kumar comes five days after Capt Amarinder Singh, who had ordered the constitution of the SIT in 2018, resigned as chief minister.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: September 22, 2021 10:12:59 pm
A row had erupted in 2019 when Kumar wrote to the CBI seeking "further investigations" into "certain aspects” highlighted by another Punjab Police SIT, which had probed other such incidents. (Express Archive)

A senior police officer, who was the head of a five-member special investigation team (SIT) formed to inquire into the Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan police firing cases, has urged Punjab government to make him available for central deputation.

The request by Special DGP (provisioning) Prabodh Kumar comes five days after Capt Amarinder Singh, who had ordered the constitution of the SIT in 2018, resigned as chief minister.

Kumar has written a letter to Amarinder’s successor Charanjit Singh Channi saying that he should be offered by the state government for an empanelment to Centre for deputation.

The letter holds significance as it comes just three days after Channi took charge as CM.

A row had erupted in 2019 when Kumar wrote to the CBI seeking “further investigations” into “certain aspects” highlighted by another Punjab Police SIT, which had probed other such incidents. The request had come a month after the CBI, which was assigned the probe by the previous SAD-BJP government, filed its closure report in a special CBI court giving a clean chit to the accused in the three incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 in Faridkot. The agency had also rejected the findings of a Punjab Police SIT in these cases.

Kumar had written to the CBI despite the Punjab Vidhan Sabha directing the government to withdraw the case from the central agency. On the basis of Kumar’s letter, the CBI had contended that its closure report should be kept in abeyance and it should be allowed to investigate further.

Kumar had stirred up another row, when he was not in agreement with former SIT head Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh over the investigations into the Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura firing cases. He had written a letter to the state police chief about his disagreement. The letter had come out in public. Subsequently, report filed by the SIT was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the state government was directed to constitute another SIT.

The HC order had sparked off a rebellion withing the ruling Congress and then government led by Amarinder Singh. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who has then a Cabinet minister and was sworn in as one of the two deputy chief ministers along with Channi, had sought action against Kumar holding him responsible for HC quashing the SIT report, causing embarrassment to the government. Randhawa had accused the police of indiscipline on the plea that DGP Dinkar Gupta had not taken any action even as Kumar had refused to sign the investigation report. He had stated that due to differences within the SIT, the report had lost its seriousness even as the issue was of paramount importance to the state government.

Subsequently, in a meeting, when Randhawa and former state Congress chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar had handed their resignation to Amarinder a few months ago, the former had also questioned the CM as to why no action as not taken against Kumar.

Amid reports that Randhawa was now a strong contender for Home portfolio, Kumar has written to the state government. Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh has already resigned from the police department and has joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

 

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