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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Bargari sacrilege cases: CBI court rejects Punjab government plea seeking closure report copy

The Punjab government had, on July 17, moved the CBI court seeking a copy of the report. The government claimed that it was also “party and privy” to the probe.

punjab Updated: Jul 24, 2019 12:09 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Mohali
File photo of protest over Bargari sacrilege case at Kotakpura , October 7, 2018.
File photo of protest over Bargari sacrilege case at Kotakpura , October 7, 2018. (Gurpreet Sinhg / HT File Photo)
         

In a setback for the Punjab government, the special judicial magistrate of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday rejected its locus standi to seek a copy of the closure report filed by the probe agency in the 2015 Bargari sacrilege cases.

On July 4, the CBI filed a closure report in three cases of sacrilege — theft of a ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib from a Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village on June 1, 2015, putting up of hand-written sacrilegious posters in Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala on September 25 and torn pages of ‘bir’ being found at Bargari on October 12 — against the accused. The previous SAD-BJP government had handed over the cases to the CBI in November 2015.

Unconvinced by the Punjab government’s plea filed through Mohali district attorney Sanjeev Batra, CBI special judicial magistrate GS Sekhon dismissed the application.

Rattled by the CBI move to file the closure report in the case in which Dera Sacha Sauda followers Mohinder Pal Bittu (recently murdered in a Nabha jail) Sukhjinder Singh, alias Sunny, and Shakti Singh, are the accused, the Punjab government had, on July 17, moved the court seeking a copy of the report. The government claimed that it was also “party and privy” to the probe.

Punjab Police was the first to register a first information report (FIR) in the 2015 case, which was later handed it over to the CBI, the government pleaded in the court. But during the argument, the CBI said the Punjab government was a “stranger” in the case.

The district attorney submitted a resolution passed by Punjab government in September last year de-notifying the notification handing over investigations to CBI, but the court was not convinced.

The court held that three complainants of the original FIRs taken over by the CBI in November 2015 and the accused are entitled to get a copy of the closure report. “The court said that all three complainants — Gora Singh, granthi of the Burj Jawahar Singh Wala gurdwara, Ranjit Singh, president of the gurdwara management committee, and Kulwinder Singh, granthi of Bargari gurdwara, are entitled to the copy of the closure report along with the accused,” said the complainants’ counsel Gagan Pradeep Singh Bal, adding that they will have to apply for the copy.

The court has fixed August 23 as the next date of hearing.

What Next

The state government is likely to challenge the order. The lawyers engaged by the government revealed that they will challenge the order in the court of the additional district and special judge, CBI.

The complainants are likely to file a protest petition against the closure report. The court after considering their objections would either accept the report or order re-investigation.

First Published: Jul 24, 2019 12:09 IST

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