The chargesheet naming Sukhbir Badal in the case is "persecution not prosecution", said the Akali Dal.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday termed the naming of its chief Sukhbir Singh Badal in a chargesheet in the 2015 Kotkapura police firing as "persecution and not prosecution", and said the party will challenge it in court.
The party's reaction came a day after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Punjab Police probing the 2015 Kotkapura police firing case filed a chargesheet in a court in Faridkot naming the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal, former director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Saini and others.
Sukhbir Badal and Saini were named as the "masterminds of conspiracy for use of illegal excessive force to hide the inaction" of the state on three sacrilege incidents in Faridkot. The then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was blamed for "facilitating the execution of the conspiracy" in the 7,000-page chargesheet.
Reacting to the filing of the chargesheet, SAD leaders on Saturday asked Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann not to do politics on the sensitive issue and said the AAP government in the state had filed a "blatantly vindictive" chargesheet to "hide its failures" on all fronts.
"The SAD will explore all options, including filing a contempt of court case, as guidelines given by the high court (Punjab and Haryana High Court) while setting aside the report of former IG (Inspector General of Police) Kunwar Vijay Pratap have been violated," party leaders Prem Singh Chandumajra, Maheshinder Singh Grewal and Daljit Singh Cheema said in a statement.
The chargesheet naming Mr Badal in the case is "persecution not prosecution" and the party will "contest the premeditated, fabricated move legally as well as in the people's court, it said.
"No case is made out against Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was out of the state at that time and can in no manner whatsoever be termed as a mastermind as has been done in the charge sheet," the leaders said in the statement.
The party also noted that the Special Investigation Team's chief LK Yadav as well as other officers had acted in a "partisan manner purely to fulfil the political directive of their masters". They said the state government had belied its intentions in advance.
"Vidhan Sabha Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan made a public announcement that the SIT led by LK Yadav would file a challan before February 28. Cabinet Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal also assured protestors at Behbal Kalan that the name of Sukhbir Singh Badal would be included in the challan filed by the SIT," the statement said.
"AAP leaders made these announcements despite the fact that the high court had directed the SIT to present its challan to the court in a sealed envelope. The AAP government is duty bound to disclose how a sealed report was made available to the AAP leadership and was also leaked to the media,” the SAD leaders asked in their statement.
The incidents related to the theft of a 'bir' (copy) of the Guru Granth Sahib, putting up handwritten sacrilegious posters, and torn pages of the holy book being found scattered at Bargari had taken place in Faridkot in 2015.
These had triggered protests and two persons -- Gurjeet Singh and Kishan Bhagwan Singh -- were killed in Behbal Kalan and a few others injured at Kotkapura in Faridkot in police firing.
While the Yadav-led SIT is probing the Kotkapura firing case, the Naunihal-led SIT is investigating the Behbal Kalan firing incident.
Former IG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, who is now an AAP MLA, had earlier been part of a different SIT that was probing the 2015 Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan policing firing incidents. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had quashed his probe report in April 2021.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)