Amid resentment among Congress MLAs against Punjab Police for writing a letter to CBI seeking reopening of Bargari sacrilege case, the state government Wednesday got into damage control mode to convince its legislators that police had not done anything wrong.
As a part of the exercise, a few MLAs, who were spearheading a campaign to write to Speaker for initiating breach of privilege against the police for writing a letter to CBI for reopening of the case, were told the “facts” of the case by a senior functionary of the government as to how the police was in the “right” to write back to the CBI. A few MLAs met the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too.
The Chief Minister’s Office and a few political leaders are learnt to have taken upon themselves to defuse the situation that could arise if MLAs seek a breach of privilege against the state police.
A section of MLAs and ministers have been upset at the “contradictory” stand of the police as well as the Advocate General Atul Nanda on the closure report. While the police had written a letter to CBI, Nanda had stated that the CBI had no right to file a closure report as Punjab Assembly had passed a resolution for recalling the sacrilege case from the CBI. The issue was raised at Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s recent dinner meeting also.
The government has prepared a strategy that they would “educate” the MLAs about the facts of the case and also “fight it out” at all platforms, including the CBI and the courts, to take the case to a logical conclusion.
A functionary said they were telling the MLAs that the police was well within its right to write a letter for reopening, “What else would they do? The CBI had not returned the Bargari sacrilege case to us. We had notified on our part the withdrawal of cases. But they never notified the return of the case to us.
“We are also going to tell the MLAs that the Speaker could not do anything on the case at this juncture as the Bargari case was in different courts. While Bargarai sacrilege was in the Special CBI court in Mohali, another case filed by an ex-police officer Charanjit Sharma against state government recalling cases from CBI was being heard by a divisional bench of the High Court. Hence, the matter is subjudice,” the functionary said.
“And what the police could have done? An investigative officer of sacrilege cases, Prabodh Kumar is aggrieved that the CBI filed a closure report in the case. What is the CBI trying to say? That nobody committed sacrilege? What do they mean by filing the closure report. Our writing to CBI means we have rejected their closure report. Also, we are fighting the case in various courts. We sought a copy of the closure report from the CBI court. We were denied. We have challenged it now. Where are we going wrong? We are giving the chronology of events to the MLAs,” said the functionary.
While a few MLAs said they were satisfied with the facts provided by the government, others said they would get 25 MLAs to sign the letter against police action.