Investigations against former Punjab DGP Virk not fair: HC

In 2008,the Punjab and Haryana High Court disbanded a team — headed by Surinder Pal Singh — probing the disproportionate assets case against former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) S S Virk.

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh | Updated: April 15, 2014 5:34:56 pm

In 2008,the Punjab and Haryana High Court disbanded a team — headed by Surinder Pal Singh — probing the disproportionate assets case against former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) S S Virk. The reason: Surinder Pal Singh had been working under the direct supervision of Sumedh Singh Saini,the then director of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau. Removing Singh and disbanding the team,the Court had ordered that a fresh team should be constituted under the direct supervision of principal secretary (home).

Now,in a serious embarrassment for the Punjab Police and its top officer,DGP Sumedh Singh Saini,the High Court has held that the current investigations against Virk are “not fair and impartial.” The reason: Paramraj Singh Umranangal,the present investigating officer is “facing an inquiry,” which is pending with DGP Saini.

The High Court has termed this as a violation of its 2008 orders. It,however,dismissed Virk’s petition demanding that Umranangal be removed as the investigating officer. The Court reasoned that since a similar petition is pending in the Supreme Court,it would “unjustified” to intervene in the matter. Justice Daya Chaudhary,however,has given Virk the liberty to approach the Court “if necessity so arises at a proper stage.”

The former DGP had petitioned the high court demanding the removal of IPS officer Umranangal as the investigating officer of the case since he (Umranangal) is facing an inquiry in a fake encounter case. Virk had been booked in a disproportionate assets case by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in 2007,when DGP Saini incharge of the Vigilance Bureau.

In his petition,Virk had alleged that the case was “malafide and due to personal enmity” with Sumedh Singh Saini. He had requested the Court to direct Punjab to appoint an investigation officer,who had a clean record and had no inquiry pending against him.

The former DGP had argued that the state government had deliberately handpicked an officer,facing enquiry,to ensure an adverse report against him (Virk) and consequently “reward” the officer with a clean chit in his inquiry.

“The investigation conducted by the present Investigating Officer is not fair and impartial as he is facing an inquiry of fake encounter pending with the present Punjab DGP and the same is in violation of directions issued by this Court”,reads the High Court order,made available on Tuesday.

In 2008,a single Bench had held that it would be “desirable” to entrust investigations in the case to another team under the direct supervision of the principal secretary (home) so that “people may have faith in the administration of justice”.

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