CLEARING THE way for investigation into the allegations of fake encounter against a senior police officer, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed additional chief secretary of Punjab home department to take appropriate steps for providing necessary support to Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, befitting his rank and at par with a DGP in the mainstream of the regular state police services, for the purpose of conducting the probe. Chattopadhyaya is the chairman of a special investigation team (SIT) constituted to investigate the alleged encounter.
“It is directed that requisite support be provided by Punjab to the chairman of the SIT upon a representation to be submitted by him to the additional chief secretary, Department of Home,” the order passed by Justice Arun Monga reads.
Chattopadhyaya, DG of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited at present, in April was appointed as the Chairman of the SIT for investigation in the case originally dating back to 1994. In August 1994, IGP Paramraj Singh Umranangal, at present under suspension in a different matter, and his team claimed to have killed “dreaded terrorist” Gurnam Singh Bandala in an encounter. Banadal was found alive in 1998, after which the family of one Sukhpal Singh, 26, of Kala Afghana village in Gurdaspur claimed that Sukhpal was the one killed by Umranangal. HC asked the SIT to probe the matter in April 2019.
A month later an application was filed by Chattopadhyaya before the court stating that he is holding an ex-cadre post in Punjab, lacking the “necessary powers”, and is with no regular office and staff in Chandigarh to enable him carry the investigation as head of an SIT constituted by the court.