Punjab Assembly passes resolution to withdraw CBI probe into sacrilege & police firing incidents, announces SIT instead

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New Delhi: Congress party’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh addressing the media in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI Photo by Atul Yadav (PTI11_21_2015_000161A)

The resolution was moved by Rural Development Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa on request from the Chief Minister, who took the decision after taking cognizance of the sentiment of the majority, including the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs.

The Hush Post: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Punjab Police for time-bound investigation into the Bargari and other sacrilege cases as well as the firing incidents of Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura.

He also assured that his government would take immediate action as per the findings and recommendations of SIT, without delay, to ensure that justice is meted out to the innocent victims.

The announcement and the assurance came in the Vidhan Sabha after the House unanimously passed a resolution, by voice vote, to withdraw CBI investigations into the cases and get the same probed by an SIT.

The resolution was moved by Rural Development Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa on request from the Chief Minister, who took the decision after taking cognizance of the sentiment of the majority, including the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs. The Shiromani Akali Dal had staged a walk out earlier in the day when the proceedings began.

The Chief Minister, while concluding the debate on the Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh Commission report and ATR in the House, said there was no question of going soft on former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, whom he blamed squarely for the damage caused to the state and its people with his “grave acts of commission and omission”. He came down heavily on the SAD leaders, including Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Bikram Singh Majithia and others, for failing to even visit those injured in the police firing in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura.

The Chief Minister said the Congress had made an election promise to bring the truth of the Bargari sacrilege case and the subsequent firing incidents to the people of Punjab. He said he had decided to get the incident thoroughly probe when he visited the injured after the incidents.

Captain Amarinder lashed out at Parkash Singh Badal terming him as a “coward and liar”, who, he had seen from close quarters. Badal had lodged false cases against him, said Captain Amarinder, adding he was even turned out of the Assembly and had to be reinstated by the Supreme Court.

Referring to Operation Blue Star, he said Parkash Singh Badal was directly to blame for the incident. Whenever there was any scope of negotiation, Badal would sabotage the efforts, said the Chief Minister, adding that he would run away after promising the hardliners of his support. “History will be scripted of our times and Badal would not be spared”, he said.

The Chief Minister also lashed out at Bikram Singh Majithia, saying nobody knew where he had come from and “he clearly came from a family which completely lacked character”. Majithia, along with Parkash Badal and Sukhbir Badal, had come together to form a dangerous coteries working against the interests of the state and continuously trying to divide it, he added.

On the Bargari and Behbal Kalan incidents, Captain Amarinder pointed out that DGP Saini, on the last day before his retirement, had given a statement that he had spoken to then CM Parkash Badal before the firing incident. He wondered how the then CM could have been sleeping, as claimed by him, at such a grave time for the state.

Earlier, taking part in the debate, Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was a dubious character, at whose behest the barbaric firing had been unleashed in Behbal Kalan, and deserved no mercy. The desecration of the holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib would always haunt Badal, he said, adding that Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir were dealers not leaders, and could even sell their Panth for their ulterior motives. Sidhu said Sukhbir had a deal with Dera Sacha Sauda Chief to take the Dera support during elections in exchange of permission to run his films in Punjab.

Leader of Opposition Harpal Cheema also urged the Chief Minister to hand over the sacrilege cases back to the Punjab Police with directives for time-bound inquiry, since the CBI was under the control of the central government under BJP – an ally of SAD. He moved a resolution seeking apology by the Centre for failing to take any action against the guilty, which was unanimously passed by the House.

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