Five-time Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday categorically reiterated his “intent and commitment to fully cooperate with the law” and said that he has “complete faith in the judiciary”.
The veteran politician, however, asked the Special Investigating Team (SIT) “to reschedule the date for his appearance for the investigations as he is not keeping good health” and “has been advised complete bed rest for 10 days by the doctors”.
“As soon as my health gets better, I will be available for joining the investigation as per law at my current place of residence (in Chandigarh),” the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron said in a statement.
Badal hoped that “this SIT, unlike the previous one, would respect the law of the land and conduct a fair investigation, withstanding political interference from the ruling dispensation” which, he said, has been brazenly subverting the law for petty political gains.
In his two-page response to the summon from the SIT investigating the handling of the Kotkapura incidents by the previous government, Badal said “the entire process of investigation already stands brazenly compromised through blatant and unapologetic political interference and it reeks too strongly of political vendetta to inspire any confidence about a fair process of law being followed”.
In spite of this, said Badal, he will “cooperate fully” with the investigative process.
The former Chief Minster also pointed out that the very need for the present SIT has “arisen out of the brazen politicisation of the case by the previous SIT”.
In this regard, Badal came down heavily against “one of the members of the previous SIT” for his “openly political conduct” which had allegedly subverted the entire investigative process.
“With callous and contemptuous disregard for all the established procedures and norms, this officer completely usurped and appropriated to himself the entire functioning and designated role of all other members of the SIT, including its chairman, and rendered them totally redundant,” Badal said.
He further referred to the reports that said that the findings of the previous SIT had been scripted jointly by half-a-dozen high profile members of the ruling party.
These reports, Badal pointed out, had never been contradicted.
The SIT has summoned Badal on June 16. Badal was the Chief Minister of Punjab when the police had opened fire on protesters in Kotkapura on October 14, 2015, killing two and injuring others.
The SIT is to ascertain as to who gave the orders to open fire, whether the cops fired in self-defence and if standard operating procedure was followed.