A day after Inspector General (IG) Paramraj Singh Umranangal was arrested in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan police firing cases, a Faridkot court on Tuesday sent him to four days’ police remand.
Umranangal, who is IG (Policy and Rules), was commanding the police force when they allegedly opened fire on people protesting against desecration of religious texts at Behbal Kalan in Punjab’s Faridkot district in 2015. Two people were killed in the police firing. SIT IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had on Monday said they arrested the IG on the basis of “sufficient evidence”. Police had sought 10 days’ remand with a plea that the weapon used to allegedly open fire at the protesters, had to be recovered from the police officer. However, the court allowed for four days.
Gursahab Singh, Umrangal’s counsel, called the case “politically motived”, claiming that the FIR was lodged in 2018, three years after the incident, and Umranangal’s name was added to it later.
Gursahab said, “This arrest was made ahead of Lok Sabha polls as the ruling party in the state wanted to seek political mileage, thus involving a police officer who was not even posted in that area at that time. Involving him now is uncalled for.”
Meanwhile, IG Kunwar Vijay Partap told mediapersons that the arrest was not made under any political pressure and everything was being done as per law.
Sources said more arrests are likely in the future. Former Moga SSP Chanranjeet Sharma, who had been arrested last month, has been sent to judicial remand.
Meanwhile, police said they needed to find out who had given IG Umranangal orders to open fire at peaceful protestors sitting at Kotkapura chowk to protest against sacrilege, after torn pages of the Guru Granth Sahib had been found in the fields of Bargari village.
IG Umranangal had joined the police forces in 1995 after his brother was killed by terrorists. He is the son of former Akali MLA, late Jiwan Singh. He has served in prominent postings across Punjab. He had once been suspended while posted as DIG (Border range). A Patiala court had in January 2017 held him guilty along with 8 other policemen for lodged a false rape case in 2003, when Umranangal was Patiala SSP.
When the firing incident took place, Umranagal was Ludhiana Commissioner. Before that, he had been serving as IG (Bathinda range) for a long time.