The Union government has finally decided to transfer the probe into the July 27 Gurdaspur attack to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The Punjab government has been caught unawares by the Centre’s move. The issue of helming the probe had almost become a bone of contention between the state government and the Centre. Earlier, the Parkash Singh Badal-led government had refused to transfer the probe to the NIA. “The government will handover probe to the NIA due to the international ramifications of the case. Formal orders will be issued soon,” said a senior official requesting anonymity.
“I have no idea how this has happened. We have not given consent for handing over the probe to the NIA,” said deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Though, under the NIA Act, that governs the working of the anti-terror agency, the Centre can suo motu transfer any case registered under the Unlawful Activities Act anywhere in the country but the NDA or the previous UPA government have used this option only in emergency circumstances for the sake of adhering to the federal structure of governance.
The Burdwan blast probe was the only example in recent years when the government ordered suo moto transfer of probe from police to NIA.
On July 27, three suspected operatives of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba dressed in army fatigues first targeted a roadside eatery, then a passenger bus and attacked a police station in Gurdaspur district killing seven persons.