Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal will not appear before the special investigation team (SIT), probing the 2015 Kotkapura police firing incident, on June 16 due to health reasons, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Daljit Singh Cheema said on Monday. The SIT had summoned the 93-year-old Akali leader, asking him to appear before it with “relevant records” on Wednesday at a resthouse in Mohali.
Cheema said Badal had a check-up at AIIMS-Bathinda and he would not be able to appear before the SIT due to health reasons. It is not possible (to appear) on June 16 due to medical reasons. When his condition improves, he will definitely cooperate with the SIT, he said.
A written communication from Badal’s side in this regard will be sent to the SIT, said the Shiromani Akali Dal spokesperson. Badal was the chief minister when the sacrilege and subsequent police firing incidents took place in Faridkot in 2015.
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. 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 into the firing at people protesting in Kotkapura in 2015 over the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot district. 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. 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.
Badal had been questioned in 2018 by the previous SIT probing the matter. He had then said the SIT probe was politically motivated and an attempt to defame him.