Buck stops at Capt Amarinder Singh-the Chief Minister-in sacrilege cases
Chandigarh, August 31: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is in the firing line on the issue of bungling in the sensitive cases of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib that have been rocking religio-political discourse since 2015.
The issues relating to Sikh religion have always been a double edged weapon in the political domain. One has to understand the deeper nuances of such weapons. Playing with these issues is too serious a risk.
None can realise it better after Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal, the first victims of the narrative related to the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib beginning June 1, 2015 when the father-son due had monopoly control over administration and religio-political affairs. Admitting the same is a different issue.
When Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on August 28 called upon Capt Amarinder Singh to come clean on the issue, it was apparent that the situation is getting a serious turn. It may be mentioned that under current has already been building up against the style of functioning of Capt Amarinder Singh over time.
Capt Amarinder Singh yesterday fielded his Advocate General Atul Nanda to offer some clarifications on the issue of CBI having approached the court in Mohali to continue with the probe in sacrilege cases. The same CBI had earlier filed the closure report.
Nanda, who was flanked by chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh and home secretary Satish Chandra, did not address the main issues that are rooted in the confusion in the Punjab government. This issue can be clarified by one person and he is Capt Amarinder Singh.
He should clarify as to why he took contradictory stand on the CBI closure report going by his official statements, one on August 26 and the other earlier on July 31.
The CBI backtracking is not an issue in itself but it is the flip-flop in the state government that raises questions.
And it is not just the CBI closure issues.
The 5-member (Technically) Special Investigating Team perceived to be headed by DGP Prabodh Kumar has filed two chargesheets in the same case that was entrusted to it. Although the main issue is the same, the two chargesheets otherwise are related to two different incidents that happened under the same people.
This is a bit confusing otherwise.
The 792-chargeshhet filed on April 24 does not hint at any culpability of Sukhbir Singh Badal in Behbal Kalan firing. The report is silent on this issue.
Then there is chargesheet filed on May 28, 2019 by IGP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh in Behbal Kalan FIR dated October 21, 2015. With focus on Kotkapura, this chargesheet includes firing at Behbal.
This chargesheet states on page 48: “On the basis of the investigation conducted in this case, it has been established that there was no provocation from the side of people sitting on dharna. The police action in the early morning of 14.10.2015 at Kotkapura Chowk was totally unprovoked. This action, as per investigation, was an outcome of conspiracy between certain high profile politicians and police officers of senior rank in connivance with the Head of Dera Sacha Sauda and his followers. The investigation reveals in unambiguous terms the names of Paramraj Singh Umranangal (the then Commissioner of Police of Ludhiana City), Sumedh Singh Saini (the then DGP Punjab), Mantar Singh Brar (then MLA of Kotkapura), Parkash Singh Badal, the then Chief Minister of Punjab and his deputy Sukjbir Singh Badal”.
However, four members of this SIT dissociated with the chargesheet within hours in a letter to the DGP. They included Prabodh Kumar, IGP Arun Pal Singh, SSP Satinderpal Singh and ADCP Bhupinder Singh.
Thus here was another contradiction in the probe.
The most enigmatic turn was the letter written by Prabodh Kumar to the CBI to continue the probe that had earlier been withdrawn by the Punjab government following the setting up of the SIT that this very officer heads. He introduced a new element of involvement of ISI in cases of sacrilege, the line that Sukhbir Singh Badal had been trying to sell.
One chargesheet exonerated then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal while the other raises finger at him. This chargesheet was filed in the Faridkot court in
The ‘confusion’ is not just at the level of civil and police and civil administration.
Capt Amarinder Singh has too taken diametrically opposite stand on CBI closure report.
Only Capt Amarinder Singh can provide answers to these riddles.
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