CHANDIGARH: The SAD on Tuesday strongly objected to the presence of a non-member in the Punjab police SIT which visited former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to question him in 2015 Kotkapura police firing incident in Faridkot.
The Punjab Police Special Investigation Team (SIT), reached Badal's Sector 4 MLAs' flat and questioned him for nearly two-and-a-half hours.
The SIT team was accompanied by the state government Prosecution Director Vijay Singla, who remained present with the SIT members during questioning of Badal, but who, the SAD leaders claimed, was not an official member of the probe team.
Objecting to Singla presence with the SIT to question the Akali stalwart, the Shiromani Akali Dal alleged that he did not hold any "official position" and it indicated the Congress government was bent upon "politicizing the entire issue".
According to Harcharan Bains, principal adviser to the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, the senior Badal asked the SIT "why it won't widen the probe to investigate Congress and AAP hand in sacrilege conspiracy to defame & destabilize then Akai Govt".
"HC (High Court) said Kunwar Vijay Partap (who led investigations of the previous SIT) politicised the probe. This was to vilify Akalis & to turn Sikhs against them. At whose behest? Must be probed, post-HC remarks," demanded Badal, Bains said in a tweet.
Objecting to Singla's presence with SIT officials, senior SAD leader Maheshinder Singh Grewal said, "What is also objectionable is that Director Prosecution Vijay Singla has been made part of the new SIT."
"He is not associated with SIT. He does not hold any official position. Does it not prove the government is playing politics? Did they take court's permission to make him part of the SIT and co-opt him?" Grewal asked.
The Punjab government had formed the new SIT led by Additional Director General of Police L K Yadav to probe the Kotkapura police firing incident following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Senior SAD leaders including Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Daljit Singh Cheema, besides SGPC chief Jagir Kaur were present at Badal's residence.
Addressing the media, the SAD leaders said Badal cooperated with the SIT like he had done when a previous investigation team had questioned him two years ago.
Referring to Singla's presence with SIT, they said at the time of the previous SIT, whose report was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the investigations were conducted in a "politically motivated" manner and even now the agenda was allegedly politically driven.
The SIT had rescheduled the questioning after the 93-year-old Badal had expressed his inability to appear before it at a rest house in Mohali on June 16, saying he is not keeping good health.
"Still not in good health, Badal, however, is keen to fulfil his legal and constitutional duties as a law-abiding citizen of the country," Bains had said earlier.
Prakash Singh Badal was the CM when incidents of desecration of Sikhs' religious text and the subsequent police firing at people protesting against it had taken place in Faridkot in 2015.
The new SIT is investigating the two FIRs registered on October 14, 2015, and August 7, 2018, in connection with the Kotkapura incident.
The high court had on April 9 this year quashed a report by an earlier Punjab Police SIT.
The court had then directed the state government to set up a new SIT without Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, an Indian Police Service officer who was part of the earlier team.
Singh took voluntary retirement after the court order and on Monday he joined the Aam Aadmi Party in Amritsar in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
"The high court quashed the previous SIT's report. We had said that the previous SIT under Kunwar Vijay Pratap was having a political agenda, which has now been proved as a day earlier the officer, who took premature retirement, has joined the AAP," said Grewal.
He charged that the fresh SIT head "L K Yadav was promoted overnight as ADGP to head the new SIT. The government's agenda is not to deliver justice, but political."
Grewal said attempts were also being made to "intermingle" Kotkapura firing case and sacrilege cases.
Cheema said the SAD has been maintaining that the "investigation being conducted is politically motivated. And even now it is politically driven."
"Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh was acting as an undercover agent of Amarinder Singh and Arvind Kejriwal, which has been proved now with his joining AAP," Cheema alleged.
Police had also opened fire at a similar demonstration in Behbal Kalan, also in Faridkot, where two people were killed.
A separate probe is underway in that case.
The previous SIT had questioned Badal in 2018.
At that time, Badal had said that the SIT was "politically motivated" to defame him.
The new SIT has already questioned former DGP Sumedh Saini and some other police officers.