Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], May 10 (ANI): The six-month time frame is an upper limit fixed by the high court to complete investigation into the 2015 Kotkapura firing incident and the new special investigation team (SIT) is free to conclude investigation before that, said a spokesperson of the Punjab government on Sunday.
The statement came after opposition parties have slammed the Punjab government over the issue, alleging it was a ploy to shield the culprits and delay justice.
Acting on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the government had on Friday constituted a new three-member SIT and directed it to complete the investigations into the incident, preferably in six months.
"The new SIT, constituted by the state government on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was not, however, barred by the court to complete the probe earlier, even within two months if possible," said the spokesperson.
Pointing to the court's April 9 order, the spokesperson said according to directions, "The investigation of these FIRs shall be concluded as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of six months from the date of the constitution of SIT".
This court direction has been simply reproduced in the SIT re-constitution notification issued by the state government, which has been specifically barred from interfering in any manner, said the spokesperson.
As evident from the court's directive, the period of six months is an upper/outer limit which has been imposed by it, the spokesperson.
The spokesperson said the SIT is free to conclude investigation before that.
Reacting to criticism of the government on the six-month deadline, the spokesperson said it is clear that the notification, and the intent, of the state government had been "misread and misconstrued by certain elements, motivated by vested political interests."
"The Amarinder Singh-led government is totally committed to ensuring a free and fair investigation into the incident, to ensure justice for the innocent and punishment for the guilty, said the spokesperson. In accordance with this commitment, the state government had set up the new SIT instead of merely contesting the court''s decision to quash the earlier SIT''s investigations" he added.
The SIT has the clear mandate to start work immediately and take the investigations to their logical conclusion, with total compliance with the directions of the high court, which has stipulated that there would be no interference from any quarter, external or internal, in the investigation process.
Any deviation from the court orders will only make the SIT vulnerable to action against it by the courts, which would merely delay the whole process instead of expediting it, the spokesperson said.
The SIT had already conducted its first meeting virtually on May 8, a day after it was constituted, and started the process of investigations by summoning the case file and other relevant records from the Faridkot court, the spokesperson said.
The high court had quashed the Punjab Police SIT's report into the Kotkapura police firing incident in which police opened fire at people protesting against the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot in 2015. (ANI)