Faridkot, March 16
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot, today allowed anticipatory bail to former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the Kotkapura police firing case, but denied the relief to Sukhbir Badal.
- June 1, 2015: ‘Bir’ stolen from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala gurdwara
- Sept 24: Sacrilegious posters found at gurdwaras in Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari
- Oct 12: Torn pages of Guru Granth Sahib found in a street opposite Gurdwara Sahib at Bargari
- Oct 14: Police, Sikh protesters clash at Kotkapura during a protest against sacrilege incidents
- April 14, 2017: Govt sets up commission of inquiry, headed by Justice (retd) Ranjit Singh
- August 7, 2018: FIR registered
In his order, Judge Rajiv Kalra asserted that there was no legal impediment in extending the benefit of bail to the senior Badal, having regard to his age and medical condition. While denying the relief to Sukhbir, the court relied upon the SIT investigation report, according to which three sacrilege incidents were not “properly and professionally investigated with an intent to screen guilty dera premis from possible criminal action owing to clandestine inaction by the then Home Minister”. Sukhbir’s direct link and personal relationship with dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and his personal aspirations to garner and secure votes of dera followers had the potential to put the state into turmoil of sectarian clash. The court, as such, did not deem it a fit case to extend the benefit of anticipatory bail to Sukhbir, Kalra asserted.
In his detailed order, Kalra also referred to the SIT report, which among other things, said Sukhbir had intentionally abandoned the law and order of the state on October 12, 2015, and left for Gurugram despite having knowledge of a third incident of sacrilege and the growing resentment among the Sikh sangat at Bargari and Kotkapura with an intention to use his absence as an excuse to evade responsibility of illegal action of the police under Sumedh Singh Saini.
“Having regard to such nature and gravity of offence, which had the potential to put the state into turmoil of sectarian clash, this court does not deem it a fit case to extend the benefit of anticipatory bail”, reads the order.
Granting relief to the senior Badal, the court directed the former CM to surrender before the ilaqa magistrate, Faridkot, within 15 days, and in the event of his arrest, it was stated that he be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh with one surety in the like amount. The court said he would not leave India without the permission of the court.
The court also denied the anticipatory bail relief to Sukhminder Singh Mann, then SSP, Faridkot.
The court asserted that the SIT conclusion in its report appeared to be based upon various factors such as eyewitness account, CCTV footage and communication among the state machinery, apart from scientific investigation. It was not liable to be discarded outright.
“The political rhetoric of the present CM or his Cabinet colleagues spread over Twitter handles does not give credibility to the allegations of hobnobbing of the present SIT with the political dispensation. It does not entail to draw an inference that the SIT conclusion was overshadowed or influenced by the present political dispensation”, the court observed.
#Faridkot #Kotkapura #parkash singh badal #sacrilege #sukhbir badal
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