Chandigarh, Jan 27 (PTI) Former Moga SSP Charanjit Singh Sharma was Sunday arrested in a case related to the killing of two youths in alleged police firing on anti-sacrilege protesters in 2015 in Behbal Kalan of Punjab’s Faridkot district, police said.

Confirming Sharma’s arrest from his residence in Hoshiarpur in the early hours, Inspector General of Police Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said they had specific inputs that the accused was trying to flee to some undisclosed location.

“Former senior superintendent of police Charanjit Singh Sharma was arrested from his residence in Hoshiarpur by a Special Investigation Team of the Punjab Police,” Singh, who is also an SIT member, said.

He said Sharma had been asked to appear before the SIT on January 29, “but when we got the input that he was trying to flee to some unknown location, we carried out his arrest today (Sunday). Had we not arrested him in the morning, he would have fled by evening as he was trying to run away from the law”.

“We are conducting investigations and taking action as per law. During this period, Charanjit Singh Sharma and some others had filed a writ before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on which the court gave its verdict recently,” he said.

Sharma was leading a police party that allegedly opened fire at the anti-sacrilege protesters at Behbal Kalan on October 14, 2015.

His arrest, first in the case after SIT was formed last year, comes two days after the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the petitions seeking a CBI probe into the desecration of religious texts and police firing incidents in the state in 2015 and challenging the findings of the Ranjit Singh Commission into the incidents.

Justice Rajan Gupta had said the SIT formed by the Punjab government would probe the incidents.

A bunch of petitions challenging the findings of the Ranjit Singh commission had been filed by Sharma (now retired) and four other cops.

The petitioners had approached the court questioning the action against them on the basis of the Justice Ranjit Singh commission which probed the Behbal Kalan police firing and sacrilege incidents in the state in 2015.

The court had dismissed their plea seeking a CBI probe into the four FIRs registered in connection with the sacrilege incidents.

With the dismissal, the interim stay granted on proceedings against the police officers for their alleged role in firing on protesters at Behbal Kalan in 2015, where two people died, had stood vacated.

The Punjab government last year had added the names of a few police officials, including Sharma, in an FIR registered earlier at Baja Khana police station in Faridkot under IPC sections for murder and attempt to murder.

Their names were added on recommendations of the Ranjit Singh commission report on police firing at Behbal Kalan.

The police officials had also challenged the findings of the Commission contending that no notification was issued to wind up an earlier panel – Zora Singh Commission – set up to probe the state-wide sacrilege incidents.

The Punjab Assembly had on August 28 last year passed the unanimous resolution for withdrawal of investigation into sacrilege incidents of Guru Granth Sahib from the CBI and handing over the cases to the SIT in the Punjab Police.

The state government had formed a five-member special investigation team (SIT), headed by Prabodh Kumar, Director, Bureau of Investigations (BOI), to probe sacrilege and related police firing incidents.

The petitioners had demanded a CBI probe into the incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib and related police firings.

They had also challenged a Punjab Assembly resolution passed in August last year for taking back investigation of the incidents from the Central Bureau of Investigation.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.