Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday directed the state Advocate General to oppose the CBI closure report in the 2015 Bargari sacrilege case, saying the agency had no jurisdiction to file the report in light of the January 2019 observations of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
According to an official spokesperson, the directive was issued by the Chief Minister on the basis of judicial and legal position shared with him by Advocate General Atul Nanda after a detailed examination of the facts and circumstances preceding the closure report.
The case relates to torn pages from the holy book of Sikhs, found in Bargari village on October 12, 2015. A month later, the then Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government had handed over its investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Earlier in the state Assembly, the Chief Minister held the former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government squarely responsible for scuttling the investigations in the Bargari sacrilege case and failing to bring the culprits to book till date. Responding to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator Aman Arora who raised the issue during Zero Hour, Amarinder Singh declared despite the Akalis’ efforts to obstruct justice, his government would take the case to its logical conclusion and ensure justice for the victims.
Lashing out at the SAD for its obstructive role in the entire case, the Chief Minister pointed out that they (Akalis) had first handed over the case to the CBI to delay the investigations and had now pressurised it to submit a hurried closure report.
No proper inquiry was conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said Amarinder Singh, adding that the central agency deliberately did not make any headway in the case under the directives of former deputy chief minister and Home minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Pointing to the Akali benches the Punjab CM said, “The CBI did no investigations because of you.” The Chief Minister said the CBI was earlier keen on challenging the state’s decision to withdraw the Bargari cases from it, but then suddenly and inexplicably decided to file its closure report. It was obvious that the agency had acted under political pressure, he added.
The Chief Minister observed that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken note of CBI’s failure to make any progress in the investigations.
The court, in its verdict stated, “In the instant case, as FIRs had already been registered by the state police and notifications issued in 2015 did not give a general power to the CBI to register cases apart from the FIRs specified in the notifications, the question of prospective operation of notification withdrawing consent would not arise.”
The Chief Minister said, on a specific query being put to the CBI counsel about the status of investigations despite a lapse of almost three years, no clear answer was forthcoming. Singh also highlighted the fact that the court had found the Special Investigation Team set up by the state to be fully equipped to handle the probe.
Given the facts and circumstances, it was more than obvious that the CBI decision to file its closure report was ill-motivated and not in the interest of justice in the Bargari case, the Chief Minister informed the House.