A day after the Punjab government decided to hand over probe into sacrilege cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), two brothers arrested in connection with the Bargari incident were released on Monday, with police saying there was not enough evidence against them.
The court of judicial magistrate (first class) Satish Kumar ordered the release of Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh, residents of Panjgrain Khurd village in Moga district, after Faridkot police moved an application in the court under section 169 (not sufficient evidence) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
The police had arrested the two brothers on October 20 after registering a case under Indian Penal Code sections 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy). Before ordering their release, the court also took consent of granthi (priest) of Bargari gurdwara, Kulwinder Singh, on whose complaint the case was registered. The complainant didn’t objection to the duo’s release. Leaders of panthic organisations and a large number of people were present outside the Faridkot modern jail when the duo was released.
Faridkot senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sukhminder Singh Mann said police had moved the application in the court for the release of two accused as it felt there wasn’t any need to keep them in judicial custody at this stage of the case. “We had arrested the two on the basis of evidence. We wanted to corroborate the same by conducting lie-detector test on the two for which they didn’t agree. Also, the state government has referred the case to CBI. So, we decided to move application to release the two,” he said. The SSP, however, said the two brothers haven’t been discharged from the case and can be summoned in the course of investigation whenever required.
After their arrest, police had claimed foreign hand behind the incident of sacrilege with connections linked to Australia and Dubai. Police claimed that it had incriminating evidence in the form of telephonic conversation between the two accused and their foreign handlers. Panthic organisations, however, had alleged that the two brothers were being framed up by police. The Bargari case that came to light on October 12 had triggered widespread protests in Punjab.