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Chances of CBI giving Bargari sacrilege case back to police low, Punjab govt seeks AG’s view

The Ranjit panel has also raised doubts over the investigations by the agency in Bargari case, while praising the Punjab Police’s special investigation team (SIT), headed by DIG Ranbir Singh Khatra.

punjab Updated: Aug 31, 2018 10:33 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
CBI,Bargari,Bargari sacrilege
(HT File )

With chances of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) handing back the Bargari sacrilege case to the Punjab Police looking bleak in the light of relevant Supreme Court judgments, the chief minister’s office (CMO) has written to the state advocate general (AG) seeking his opinion in the case, it is learnt.

The Punjab assembly, in a resolution moved on Tuesday, unanimously demanded that three cases — the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari in Faridkot district and two cases of police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan — should be taken back from the CBI.

According to a senior government functionary, the administration is hopeful about withdrawal of two firing cases even as it has already notified handing it over to the central agency last month. The CBI too has completed all the formalities to take over these cases, he said.

“The cases of police firing in Kotkapura and Behbhal Kalan have been notified for probe by CBI after the chief minister himself made a declaration in this regard on June 30. But they can be easily reverted to the state as the central agency is yet to start investigation in these cases. We have already studied various judgments in this regard,” the official said. Regarding the Bargari case, the ball seems to be in the court of the Centre as the CBI has already started investigations into the case handed over to it on November, 2015.

“The CM is also likely to make a formal request to the Centre about transfer of case, citing the all-party resolution passed by the Punjab assembly and the larger sentiments of the lawmakers of the state,” said an official, on condition of anonymity. “The decision in this case is to be taken by the central government.”

Also, there are doubts among the think-tank of the government as to whether the CBI would concede to the demand of the state government about handing over the Bargari case keeping in view the recent allegations levelled by the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party MLAs in the assembly that the agency would not do a fair job as it was a “puppet” of the Centre.

“CBI is a mere a puppet of the Centre. Badals would easily influence the agency using their clout,” many MLAs, including local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, had stated in the assembly during the debate on the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report into sacrilege cases.

The panel has also raised doubts over the investigations by the agency in Bargari case, while praising the Punjab Police’s special investigation team (SIT), headed by DIG Ranbir Singh Khatra.A CBI official posted at Chandigarh said the possibility of reverting the case, already under probe, to the Punjab Police would set a wrong precedent.

“For people of Punjab, it may be an issue of sentiments, but the CBI is a federal agency with high integrity. States cannot take back cases, claiming their own police are more professional and they don’t have faith in us,” an agency official said. AG has been asked to give his opinion on the Bargari case keeping in view the previous judgments in such cases.

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 10:33 IST