Punjab again posts Vijay Partap to head SIT probing sacrilege cases

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Chandigarh, May 27 (IANS) The Punjab government on Monday again posted Inspector General of Police Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh to head the Special Investigative Team (SIT) probing the involvement of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal in the sacrilege cases and police firing in 2015.

Vijay Pratap was relieved from the post on the directions of the Election Commission.

Two people were killed and many others injured in Behbal Kalan village on October 15, 2015, when police resorted to unprovoked firing on hundreds of people protesting the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari village in Faridkot a few days earlier. The incident came a day after police used force to disperse agitators in Kotkapura village.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who also heads the Home Department, during his election campaigns had announced that Vijay Pratap would be back to complete and take the SIT investigation to its logical conclusion the day after the election code of conduct is lifted.

In an official order, Home Secretary N.S. Kalsi said Vijay Pratap was transferred and posted as Inspector General of the Organised Crime Control Unit, with additional charge of Inspector General of Counter Intelligence, Amritsar.

He had been posted to Counter Intelligence after he was shifted out of the Organised Crime Control Unit on the Election Commission orders for alleged violation of the model of code conduct, a charge that the Chief Minister had denied.

Vijay Pratap was an active part of the SIT investigation into the Bargari and other sacrilege incidents, and the subsequent Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura firing, when he was removed by the Election Commission.

Amarinder Singh had alleged the orders were issued at the behest of the ruling BJP, an ally of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) whose top leaders, including the Badal father-son duo – Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal, have figured in the investigation so far.

The Ranjit Singh Commission, set up by the Amarinder government to probe the cases, had suggested further investigation into the role of the Badals, which the SIT was probing.

Amarinder Singh has repeatedly maintained that the firing on peaceful protestors could not have been possible without the knowledge of then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and then Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal who also held the Home portfolio.

–IANS

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