The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday said in a special NIA court at Mohali whether British national Jagtar Singh Jaggi Johal and two other accused arrested in cases of targeted killings in Punjab were wanted in the RSS Punjab vice-president Jagdish Gagneja murder case would be known sooner as the “matter is under investigation”.
Gagneja was shot by unknown motorcycle-borne assailants on August 6, 2016. The Punjab government had handed over the case to the CBI.
Johal was arrested in November 2017 when he was in Punjab to get married. He was alleged to be involved in a spate of targeted killings in Punjab, the murders of leaders and activists belonging to right-wing organisation, Dera Sacha Sauda and the Christian community, which as per police showed a pattern to disturb communal harmony.
NIA has submitted chargesheets in a number of targeted killing cases it was tasked to probe.
On March 12, NIA registered a case to probe killing of Gagneja.
The counsel of Johal and two others arrested in other targeted killings case, Jaspal Singh Manjhpur, on April 6 had filed an application in the Special NIA Court at Mohali of Special Judge Nirbhow Singh Gill, seeking to know whether Johal and two others, Hardeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh, who were arrested in cases of other targted killings, were wanted in Gagneja murder case.
Manjhpur in his application had pointed out that he learnt from the NIA website that the agency had registered on March 12 at NIA Police Station, Delhi.
Manjhpur had sought a status report of the case.
In a written reply on Monday, NIA special public prosecuter H S Oberoi said the matter was under investigation and “….sooner the role of applicants is surfaced they may be required or not by the IO”.
The NIA public prosecutor in written reply sought dismissal of Manjhpur’s application saying there was “no such provision in the Cr.P.C. to give status report as demanded by the accused persons”. In next line, the reply read, “The application is premature and not maintainable at this stage.”
Oberoi told the court that NIA had registered the case last month and hence the probe is on. Manjhpur, however, argued in the court that the case was registered in 2016, referring to the case registered by the Punjab Police.
In his application, Manjhpur said that the case was being investigated by CBI with an ASP-rank officer as investigating officer before a Ministry of Home Affairs order, dated March 8, 2019, directed to transfer the case to NIA, following which NIA registered a case on March 12, 2019.