Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday refused to accept the resignation of an IPS officer after the high court reportedly quashed the probe led by him in two cases of police firing. Inspector General Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh headed the Special Investigation Team of the Punjab police, probing the 2015 police action in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan in the Faridkot district against people protesting over the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib. Two people were killed.
The officer sought premature retirement days after the Punjab and Haryana High Court reportedly quashed the SIT inquiry. A copy of the court order, however, is yet to come out.
According to reports, the HC on Friday also asked the state government to reconstitute the SIT without Singh. The CM has turned down the police officer’s voluntary retirement plea, a government statement said.
The chief minister said Singh is a highly competent and efficient officer whose services are needed in the border state, particularly at a time when it faces various “internal and external security threats”. The state needs the expertise and experience of the officer who has contributed “exceptional service” to the Punjab Police in various important positions, the statement said, quoting Amarinder Singh.
The CM described him as a “skilled, capable and courageous officer with an exemplary track record”. He said he has already made it clear that his government will challenge in the Supreme Court any court order that seeks to remove Singh as the SIT chief or quash the investigation.
“The officer and his team have done an excellent job of expeditiously investigating the Kotkapura case which the Akali Dal had tried hard to stall for the past four years”, the CM claimed, referring to the previous government in the state. He added that the probe will be taken to its logical conclusion under the supervision of the same officer.
Two people were killed in the police firing at Behbal while they were protesting against the desecration of the sacred book at Bargari, also in Faridkot. Police had also opened fired in Kotkapura.