Stop Punjab Police SIT probe into sacrilege cases, CBI urges Mohali court
PARALLEL PROBE Central agency files plea in court two days after deputy inspector general (DIG) Ranbir Singh Khatra-led special investigation team named Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim as accused in the 2015 theft of Guru Granth Sahib bir (copy) that triggered statewide protestsUpdated: Jul 09, 2020 11:43 IST
Chandigarh/Jalandhar: Two days after a special investigation team (SIT) named Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim as an accused in the 2015 theft of a ‘bir’ (copy) of Guru Granth Sahib, the CBI on Wednesday moved a Mohali court, urging it to stop Punjab cops from carrying out a “parallel probe” in the sacrilege cases.
The CBI plea, filed by the additional superintendent of police Anil Kumar Yadav, claims that the agency is still conducting a probe in these cases and there can’t be two simultaneous investigations by two agencies in the same cases.
The parallel investigation conducted by Punjab Police, amounts to violation of established procedure of the law, the plea said.
The special CBI court has issued notice to Punjab and others parties and according to the defence counsel, Vivek Gulbadhar, and the next hearing will take place on July 10.
After outrage over three sacrilege incidents in 2015, the then SAD-BJP government had handed over the probe to the central agency.
TWISTS AND TURNS IN THE CASE
On July 4, 2019, the CBI had filed a closure report giving a clean chit to some dera followers who were named as sacrilege accused by the deputy inspector general (DIG) Ranbir Singh Khatra-led SIT in the chargesheet.
The Same accused were arrested by Khatra-led SIT a few days ago.
“We had filed a closure report but on July 29, 2019, when the agency got a letter from the special DGP, Bureau of Investigation of Punjab Police (Parbodh Kumar was holding this charge that time), in which some fresh leads related to the case were shared and he requested the CBI undertake further investigation,” the CBI plea said.
In pursuant of the letter, an application was filed in the special CBI court in Mohali on August 26, 2019, to keep the closure report in abeyance till conclusion of further investigation, said the plea.
The court on November 20, 2019, directed the CBI to file the status report of investigation and the same was filed on January 8 this year.
In September 2019, a Punjab government notification withdrew consent to the CBI to probe the case. The CBI challenged it in the Punjab and Haryana high court, which in December 2019 upheld the state government’s notification.
The agency challenged the order in the Supreme Court. The top court in February dismissed the CBI’s plea against withdrawal of consent by Punjab to probe cases.
CASES STILL WITH CBI
In Wednesday’s application, the CBI claimed that the apex court dismissed its special leave petition (SLP) on the ground of delay in filing it but has left the ‘question of law’ open.
The CBI claimed it also challenged the apex court’s decision by filing a special leave petition on March 5, 2020, and the same is pending before the apex court.
The plea said the CBI has not been denotified by the Government of India from these cases and the notification of empowering the agency to investigate these cases still exists.
“The Punjab government had requested the Centre on a couple of occasions to hand over the investigation of these cases to the state. The last such letter was sent by Punjab on May 14 and the decision to return these cases is yet to be taken by the CBI. These facts show that the investigation has not been handed over to Punjab and the cases are still with the CBI,” reads the plea.