FIVE YEARS after the Behbal Kalan firing incident, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case has nominated former Punjab DGP Sumedh Saini and suspended IG Paramraj Umranangal in a 2015 FIR filed after the incident. Both have been booked in the FIR under charges of attempt to murder, conspiracy and sections of the Arms Act.
Saini was the state DGP, while Umranangal was Ludhiana Police Commissioner at the time of the firing incident in which two men — Gurjeet Singh and Krishan Bhagwan Singh — were killed.
The police firing had taken place on October 14, 2015 when villagers were sitting on a dharna at Behbal Kalan link road in Faridkot’s Kotkapura constituency against sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib which had happened in the nearby Bargari village. Earlier, police had cleared protesters from the Kotkapura chowk, where some had sustained injuries in firing and lathicharge.
It was then Moga SSP Charanjeet Sharma who was given charge to remove Behbal Kalan dharna where firing took place later killing two protesters. While police claimed that it had fired in self-defence after being fired upon by protesting villagers, but soon after the incident, they were blamed for alleged unprovoked firing.
On October 21, 2015, an FIR against unidentified cops was lodged at Bajakhana police station.
Charanjeet Sharma , two SP-rank officers and few other officials were nominated in the FIR in early 2019. Late on Sunday evening, former DGP Saini and suspended IG Umranangal were also nominated in the same FIR. According to the SIT, both cops had been found prima facie guilty based on documentary evidence and statements of the witnesses.
Saini, meanwhile, has also been served a notice in Mohali regarding the case, revealed police sources. Charanjeet Sharma was arrested by the SIT on January 26, 2019 and since then more names are being added to the FIR. Umranangal was first arrested in February, 2019, but later released on bail in March last year.
In the first week of September this year, the SIT had approached district and session court, Faridkot, with a petition to pardon one of the prime accused Pardeep Singh who was then a reader of former SSP Charanjeet Sharma as he wanted to be an approver in the case. Later, the court had also given permission to accept Pardeep as approver of the case. Meanwhile, it has been learnt that Pardeep Singh has given a statement before the court that Saini and Umranangal had issued instructions to Charanjeet Sharma to end protestors’ dharna at Behbal Kalan and Sharma had opened fire in which two persons were killed, while a few got injured. The SIT now claims that Saini and Umranangal were the main conspirators in this firing case.
The SIT headed by IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had also arrested, in June, a Faridkot-based lawyer Sohial Singh Brar and one Pankaj Bansal, a Moga- based car dealer, for their alleged role in fabricating evidence in Behbal Kalan firing incident.
They were arrested for allegedly fabricating bullet marks on the escort vehicle of former SSP Charanjeet Sharma. While Brar has got bail in this case, Bansal is still behind bars in yet another case of smuggling of weapons. Meanwhile, former DGP and suspended IG have been nominated in the FIR lodged in Bajakhana police station. SHO, Bajakhana, Jaskaran Singh confirmed to The Indian Express over phone that both Saini and Umranangal have been nominated in the FIR.
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