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SIT to quiz Badal today 

Chandigarh: The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the 2015 sacrilege and police firing cases, will record the then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s statement in the Kotkapura firing incident on Friday.

Badal, who was initially asked to appear before the SIT in Amritsar, and subsequently at a place of his convenience, on Thursday shot off a letter to the SIT head, ADGP Prabodh Kumar, saying that he would be available at his local residence (MLA Flats) on Friday. Sources in the police said he would be examined in the afternoon as a witness.

The SIT had issued summons earlier this week to the former CM, former state Home Minister and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and actor Akshay Kumar. The Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) had mentioned that the then CMhad asked the police not to use force to disperse Sikh protesters at Kotkapura, but the SIT has reportedly come across evidence that the order for getting the dharna lifted was issued by Sukhbir Badal. This was done allegedly after Akshay had intervened and arranged a meeting between Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and Sukhbir. The former Deputy CM and Akshay have denied that such a meeting took place. 

The police team will separately record the statements of the Badals and the Bollywood star over the next week. The Akali Dal has demanded that the team of police officers questioning the former CM should exclude IG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, accusing him of “acting under the influence of his political masters”, but the request is unlikely to be accepted.

Akali Dal MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder and former minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema have shot off a letter to the CM, seeking the officer’s ouster from the SIT. Sources in the government, however, said there would be no change in the constitution of the team. “It is a multi-member SIT, headed by an ADGP. Other members can question the former CM,” said a top officer.

Prabodh Kumar could not be contacted.

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