Chandigarh, August 22
More than three years after Bargari sacrilege accused Mohinder Pal Bittu was “brutally murdered in judicial custody” while lodged in Nabha jail, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the constitution of a new special investigating team (SIT) to be headed by an Additional Director-General of Police.
Submit report at the earliest
The new SIT will take over the investigation from the SIT headed by Kesar Singh, SP (Punjab Bureau of Investigation), Patiala, and shall carry out further investigation and submit its report to the court concerned at the earliest. — Justice Raj Mohan Singh
Justice Raj Mohan Singh also made it clear that the SIT’s constituent members may not be lower than the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP). “The new SIT will take over the investigation from the SIT headed by Kesar Singh, SP (Punjab Bureau of Investigation), Patiala, and shall carry out further investigation and submit its report to the concerned court at the earliest,” Justice Raj Mohan Singh asserted.
The directions came on a petition filed against the state and other respondents by Bittu’s wife Santosh Kumari through senior counsel BS Sidhu with advocates RK Handa and Dharambir. She was seeking directions to get further investigation conducted in the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or any other independent agency.
It was submitted police officers were aware that Bittu had already been given a clean chit by the CBI. He was murdered on June 22, 2019, under a deep rooted conspiracy “at the instance of higher police officers”. They were apprehensive that Bittu would talk about the atrocities after coming out of the jail.
The instances of the brutality and conspiracy involving higher police officers were elaborately mentioned by the victim in a diary note/handbook during his judicial custody. It came into the petitioner’s possession after her husband’s death, it was added.
The CBI, in its reply, submitted that further investigation in the case could be entrusted to it “keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter in view of allegations against the politicians and higher police officers.”
Justice Raj Mohan Singh asserted the issue involved in the present matter was also connected to the sacrilege cases in which allegations were against Bittu. Those cases were being investigated by different SITs, including the one headed by IPS officer Surinderpal Singh Parmar.
“I deem it appropriate to direct that the composition of the present SIT shall be revisited, thereby putting high ranking police officers not below the rank of the persons against whom allegations have been made in the diary note. Even though, some of the high ranking police officers are retired, it shall be ensured by respondent-state that proper and legal investigation is carried out by the new SIT…”
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