The Election Commission today ordered the removal of a senior police officer from a special investigation team probing the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015, following complaints that he had violated the Model Code of Conduct by making controversial statements in a televised programme last month.
According to orders issued by the poll body, Inspection General of Police Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh cannot be given any election-related duties. Mr Singh - who headed the crime unit with additional charge of the Organised Crime Control Unit - has now been posted as the Inspector General of Counter Intelligence (Amritsar).
The action was taken after the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) demanded the immediate removal of Mr Singh from the probe team last month for giving a "politically motivated interview" to a television channel on the ongoing investigation. He was also accused of making politically loaded statements that could affect the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections.
The Election Commission took up the case against Mr Singh after SAD Rajya Sabha parliamentarian Naresh Gujral filed a complaint. A few days later, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sunil Jakhar accused the opposition party of using the poll body to sabotage the probe into the incidents of desecration at Bargari.
"It was found that the officer gave a politically motivated interview to a television channel on March 18 and 19 about the ongoing investigation by the special investigation team, and made certain political comments. It was also observed that part of the interview had political connotations, and held the potential to show certain political leaders in a poor light. The officer also mentioned the names of certain SAD leaders, which is clearly in violation of the Model Code of Conduct. The commission has, therefore, decided that Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, Inspector General of Police, (Member, SIT) shall be immediately relieved from his present post and not be given any post related to the conduct of elections," the Election Commission's letter read.
The poll body also directed that action be initiated against the officer for violating election norms.
The case being investigated by the probe team involves a series of incidents pertaining to the desecration of the Sikh Guru Granth Sahib and the subsequent protests. Two Sikh protesters were shot dead in the police action that followed, causing a public outcry.
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