‘Mixing of religion’ complicates probe, says HC

Punjab and Haryana high court

CHANDIGARH: Tearing into the “blemished and manufactured” investigation carried by recently-retired Punjab Police IGP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh in connection with Kotkapura firing case, the Punjab and Haryana high court has held that his “political theatrics” during the investigation had already been established.
Indicting the senior cop, who recently quit the police service, for “unfair” probe to favour one political party, the judge held, “Moreover, the political interest of the current dispensation in the state qua the investigation and the political theatrics of Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh during the instant investigation by going to media and by repeatedly highlighting allegations against the outgoing politicians without filing challan against them, intended to create a narrative in favour of one political party and against the other party during the election process, has duly been established as per the record.”
The high court has also held that Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh has gone “to the extent of manufacturing the statements of witnesses to suit his designs,” by recording differing statements of same witnesses in these two FIRs with convenient omissions in their statements recorded under Section 161 CrPc.
‘Conclusions drawn by Singh found to be against statement of witnesses’
According to the high court, the conclusions drawn by Singh are found to be against the statement of witnesses recorded and the material collected by him only.
In his 89-page verdict released on Friday, Justice Rajbir Sehrawat of the HC has held that the public pressure to get the alleged erring police officials convicted also appears to have adversely affected the fairness of the investigation.
“As a result the fairness of investigation stands vitiated. The investigation conducted by Kunwar also suffers from malice, irrationality and absurdity. Hence, this court is of the considered opinion that this is one of the rare cases where the court is under duty to step-in to prevent miscarriage of justice, instill confidence in the investigation and also to preempt the misuse of the process of the court; by quashing the investigation filed in these two cases, while leaving state to fairly investigate these two cases again,” the HC held while quashing the probe conducted by Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh.
In another significant observation, the Justice Sehrawat held the conclusion that the protesters were sitting peacefully when the police started firing and also the conclusion that firing by the police was unprovoked is against the record even on this count.
“Needless to say, that the firing is stated to have taken place at the third stage, after the third order passed by the civil authorities and not in the first instance. However, before that; in the above description itself; the protesters are recorded to have chased and attacked the police, including with the swords,” clarified the HC in its order.
The high court passed these orders after hearing a petition filed by police officials, Gurdeep Singh and Rashpal Singh seeking the quashing of subsequent FIR registered in the Kotkapura firing case. They had also requested the high court for removal of senior IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh from probe into this case.
The petitioner cops had also argued that while registering FIR against them, the fact was ignored that more than 50 cops had also received injuries when they were performing their duties.

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