Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday ridiculed Sukhbir Badal for jumping the gun on the High Court orders in the Kotkapura firing case, of which the Honourable court is yet to release the copy, and urged the Akali leader to refrain from making merry as the matter was far from being over.

“At least wait for the copy of the orders, before claiming victory,” the Chief Minister advised the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, mocking Sukhbir’s reaction to media reports of the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s decision on the investigation into the 2015 incident by the Punjab Police Special Investigation Team (SIT). The fact is that there has been no official announcement yet of the court verdict, he pointed out.

“In any case, whatever the verdict in the matter, I stand by the investigation of the SIT, which has, at no point, absolved the Badal family of involvement in the heinous incident, that led to innocent people losing their lives,” Captain Amarinder further said, vowing to ensure justice for the families and punishment for the guilty, irrespective of who they are.

Reiterating that his government will challenge any court order that either quashes the SIT probe or removes the officer in charge, Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, the Chief Minister said Sukhbir’s desperation to celebrate his non-victory exposed his panic in the face of what he must have seen as writing on the wall, given the direction in which the SIT investigation was pointing.

The SIT has so far chargesheeted six persons in the Kotkapura case, including against then Kotkapura Akaki MLA and Halqa in-charge Mantar Singh Brar. The chargesheet against Brar clearly mentions that “On the analysis of the call details, it has been established that he made phone calls to the then chief Minister of Punjab Mr. Parkash Singh Badal through the Special Principal Secretary to the CM (Mr. Gagandeep Singh Brar, Ph. 981580000) and OSD to the CM Sh. Gurcharan Singh (9915584693).”

Captain Amarinder derided Sukhbir’s attempt to wriggle out of the corner in which he finds himself in the light of the chargesheet against Brar by screaming vendetta and witch-hunt.
Nothing else explains the haste of the former Deputy CM & Home Minister of Punjab to seek validation of his innocence in a HC order that is yet to come, he added.

The Chief Minister further pointed out that the Badal family had left no stone unturned in the past four years to scuttle the probe in the case, which they had been responsible for handing over to the CBI in the first place. As part of the ruling coalition at the Centre, the SAD had pulled all the stops to prevent the probe from reaching its logical conclusion, forcing the present government in the state to fight to get the case back from the central agency and hand it over to SIT to complete the investigation, added Captain Amarinder.

The Chief Minister also took a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for trying to make political hay over the issue with their frivolous and unfounded allegations. Like Sukhbir, AAP MP Bhagwant Mann has also been shooting through his mouth without knowing the High Court’s mind, he observed, adding that the theatrics of Arvind Kejriwal’s party, which has no presence at all in the state, are a laughing stock. Mann’s charge of collusion between Congress and SAD on the issue is not only ludicrous but logic-defying, he said, quipping that “to expect any AAP leader to be logical was like expecting the sun to shine at night.”

Besides Brar, the others chargesheeted in the Kotkapura case are all senior police officers, including then CP Ludhiana Paramraj Singh Umaranangal, then SSP Moga, Charanjit Singh Sharma, then SHO of PS City Kotkapura Gurdeep Singh, then Kotkapura DSP Baljit Singh, and then ADCP Ludhiana Paramjit Singh Pannu. In addition, one person, former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, has been challaned in the case. Saini’s and Umaranangal’s anticipatory bail pleas were dismissed by the Sessions Court Faridkot on February 11, 2021, and they have not approached the High Court for the same.

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