Kotkapura firing: Trial against Sukhbir, Saini to start in sessions court from November 21
The trial against Sukhbir, Saini and five other accused will start in the Faridkot district and sessions court from November 21 in Kotkapura case
Faridkot: Around eight months after the special investigation team (SIT) probing the 2015 police firing incidents filed the first chargesheet against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, former director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini and four other accused in the FIR registered in 2018 in connection with the Kotkapura incident, the court of judicial magistrate (first class), Faridkot, Ajay Pal Singh on Saturday committed the chargesheet to the sessions court.
Several Sikh protesters were injured in Kotkapura in Faridkot district after police opened fire on October 14, 2015, when they were holding a sit-in against the Bargari sacrilege incident.
The trial against Sukhbir, Saini and five other accused will start in the Faridkot district and sessions court from November 21.
“The offense under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC are exclusively triable by the court of sessions. Therefore, the present case is committed to the court of sessions judge, Faridkot for November 21 and accused persons are directed to appear before the court on said date at 10am,” said Ajay Pal Singh.
On February 24, the Punjab Police SIT filed chargesheet naming seven people, including then Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his deputy and son Sukhbir, then state police chief Sumedh Singh Saini, suspended inspector general of police (IGP) Paramraj Singh Umranangal, then director general of police (DGP) Amar Singh Chahal, then Faridkot senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sukhmander Singh Mann and former SSP Charanjit Singh Sharma.
The SIT named Sukhbir and Saini as “masterminds of conspiracy” for “illegal and excess” use of force to conceal the inaction of the state government on a series of three sacrilege incidents, including theft of Guru Granth Sahib from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and sacrilege of the Sikh holy book at Bargari. “Parkash Singh Badal also facilitated in the execution of the conspiracy. Umranangal, Chahal and Charanjit Sharma executed the conspiracy. Besides helping in the execution of the conspiracy, Sukhmander Mann was also found guilty of distortion and concealment of facts,” the SIT had claimed.
The court closed legal proceedings against Parkash Singh Badal after his death on April 25. In the past six months, the SIT also filed three supplementary chargesheets submitting additional evidence against the accused.
Then Kotkapura SHO Gurdeep Pandher, Saini, Umranangal and Mann were also named as accused in another chargesheet filed in the FIR registered in 2015 on the day of the firing for distortion and concealment of facts. The court on Saturday also committed this chargesheet to the sessions court.
On October 14, 2015, after the Kotkapura firing incident, the police registered the first information report (FIR-192) against 15 Sikh preachers and unidentified people at Kotkapura city police station for allegedly instigating the protesters to attack the police with sharp-edged weapons and opening fire. The FIR was registered by Pandher, who was named as an accused in this case by the SIT.
Meanwhile, the court dismissed four applications filed by the accused, including former SSP Charanjit Sharma and former SHO Pandher. The applications of two cops who had sustained injuries during the incidents were also dismissed by the court. Pandher in his application had named 52 protesters and accused them of violence demanding action against them. While, head constable Rashpal Singh, who was seriously injured in the incident named 14 protesters and accused six leaders of protesters for instigating the gathering in 2015 at Kotkapura.