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Fake encounter: SAD, PEP flay Punjab govt for 'recommending' pardon to ex-cops

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) Friday slammed the Congress-led state government for "recommending" pardon to four former policemen, serving life imprisonment in a 1993 fake encounter case.

The four policemen were sentenced to life imprisonment by a special CBI court in Patiala in 2014 for killing Ludhiana resident Harjit Singh in a fake encounter in 1993.

The then Uttar Pradesh Superintendent of Police, Ravinder Kumar; UP Inspector Brij Lal Verma; UP Constable Onkar Singh; and Punjab Police Inspector Harinder Singh were awarded life imprisonment.

A copy of the orders was provided by PEP chief Sukhpal Singh Khaira to the media here on Friday.

Seeking reversal of the pardon granted to them, Khaira said his party would move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against it.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said a party delegation would approach Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the reversal of the decision.

Criticising the Amarinder Singh-led government, the SAD chief in a statement here said Harjit was killed by the cops in 1993 to "secure out of turn promotions".

He expressed solidarity with Harjit's family and said the Congress government had "committed another atrocity" against the Sikh community by recommending pardon to the four convicts.

Asserting that the SAD would fight tooth and nail to get this "unjust order" overturned, Sukhbir said a delegation of the party would meet union home minister Amit Shah soon and would request him to overturn the pardon granted to the four convicts.

"The recommendation for the pardon came barely four- and-a-half-years after the cops were awarded life imprisonment following a 18-year-long investigation. This is akin to rubbing salt into the wounds of the Sikh community,said Sukhbir.

He said the SAD delegation would request the Union home minister to order an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the grant of pardon to the convicts.

"Amarinder Singh must explain reasons behind his benevolence," said Sukhbir.

On the "recommendations" of the Additional Director General of Police (Jails) and Director General of Police and "facts pointed out by them", Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, using powers vested in him under Article 161 of the Constitution, reportedly pardoned the former cops.