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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Bargari sacrilege case: Shifting sands of the probe

Bargari sacrilege case closure report: CBI, Punjab government not sticking to their guns, have contradicted their own stances.

punjab Updated: Aug 28, 2019 11:28 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
File photo of demonstration against inaction on Justice Ranjit Singh commission report on Bargari/Behbal Kalan issue.
File photo of demonstration against inaction on Justice Ranjit Singh commission report on Bargari/Behbal Kalan issue. (Sameer Sehgal / HT File Photo )
         

The CBI’s move on Monday requesting a special court in Mohali to re-investigate the Bargari sacrilege incidents, in which it filed a closure report on July 4, has not only raised questions over its functioning, but the case has also exposed the contradictory stances of the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government on the issue.

On July 17, while opposing the government’s application filed in the court to get a copy of the closure report, the central agency had termed the state as a “stranger” and an “outsider” in the case.

But on Monday, while urging the court to re-investigate the case, the CBI based its appeal on a letter written by Punjab special director general of police (DGP)-cum-bureau of investigation (BoI) head Prabodh Kumar, who on July 29 had requested the agency director seeking further probe into the case, citing some “unanswered angles”.

In its application, the CBI told the court that its closure report may be kept in abeyance till the further investigation is on in the case in the “interest of justice”.

“The CBI filed the closure report and didn’t even let the state government to get a copy of it in the case which was handed over to it by the state government itself. Now suddenly, they found that the new angles mentioned by the bureau of investigation head need to be probed further. It only vindicates the state’s stance that the CBI was not carrying out the probe in the religiously sensitive case with all seriousness,” a senior police officer dealing with the case said.

“The CBI concluded that three Dera Sacha Sauda followers accused of sacrilege were not involved in the incidents. But then, the agency should have found out who committed sacrilege. It closed the case without telling who the conspirators were,” said a senior government official who attended a meeting at chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s residence in the wake of the CBI’s U-turn.

CM Amarinder has announced to challenge the CBI’s appeal to probe the case again.

NANDA MADE ‘NO LOCUS STANDI’ REMARK 2 DAYS AFTER KUMAR’S LETTER

The statements the Punjab government has given from time to time on the issue also contradict each other. After the CBI filed the closure report, the government said the agency had no locus standi to probe the case after it had withdrawn the consent to do so.

On August 1, Punjab advocate general Atul Nanda termed the CBI’s move to file the closure report ‘bad in law’, saying it did not have any jurisdiction when the consent to probe the cases was withdrawn by the state.

Nanda’s remark came merely two days after special DGP Kumar wrote to the central agency requesting to carry out probe citing some “unanswered angles” such as foreign angles and presence of two Pakistani mobile numbers during sacrilege days and the money trail.

“While the state government is targeting the CBI for carrying out the probe without having any jurisdiction in the court, its police department is writing to the agency’s director to probe the case further. It’s a classic case when the left hand doe not know what the right hand is doing,” a Congress MLA said.

The MLA was part of a group of legislators who wanted to bring a privilege motion against the special DGP for writing to the CBI director when the Punjab assembly had passed a resolution to withdraw the cases.

The government has also failed to bring on record any communication with the CBI wherein it purportedly asked to hand over the case files after “consent” was withdrawn in August 2018.

First Published: Aug 28, 2019 01:04 IST

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