On the defensive for taking a contradictory stand on withdrawing Bargari sacrilege cases from the CBI, the Punjab government has now held the Centre responsible for delaying return of the sacrilege cases that led the agency to file the closure report.
In a six-page letter addressed to Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), cleared by the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the state government has threatened a contempt of court in the whole case.
The letter states: “As the state government had withdrawn its consent given under Section 6 of DSPE Act to investigate the cases of sacrilege, it is incumbent upon the Government of India to immediately de-notify their notification on November 5, 2015 whereby the powers and jurisdiction of the members of DSPE were extended to whole of Punjab for investigation of the cases of sacrilege. However, the delay on the part of GOI led the CBI to continue with their investigations, despite the withdrawal of consent of state government, and to file closure report in the cases, without progressing the investigations or making any headway.”
The government has further stated, “The three cases be withdrawn from CBI and given back to the state police. Accordingly, the November 5, 2015 notification, GOI entrusting these cases to CBI be withdrawn/denotified. The CBI should also return the case files and other evidences collected by them.”
Threatening a contempt of court in the case, the government has written, “The non-return of cases by CBI to the state police may invite contempt of court.” While threatening the same, the government has mentioned a part of High Court judgment of January 25, 2019, in a petition filed by police officer Charanjit Sharma against government’s decision of withdrawing the cases from CBI then. The HC had upheld the government decision.
The letter mentions the HC judgement: “Besides, during the course of hearing, this court called for the case diary of CBI and perused the same. It was evident that investigation in the case had hardly made any headway. (para 32 of judgement).
“The CBI did not seriously oppose the withdrawal of consent. Even in its reply, it meekly stated that the matter was under investigation and did not question the validity of notifications withdrawing the consent for investigation by it. On a specific query being put to CBI counsel about the status of investigations despite lapse of almost three years, no clear answer was forthcoming.”
The letter also mentions that it is relevant to mention that the CBI was a party in the writ petition and the judgment was not challenged by the CBI.
The state government is on the defensive after Special DGP-cum-Director Bureau of Investigation Prabodh Kumar writing to CBI seeking further investigation in Bargari sacrilege case after CBI filing a closure report. The letter was written despite the Punjab Vidhan Sabha directing the government to withdraw the case from CBI.
On the basis of this letter, the CBI presented to a special court on Monday that its closure report should be kept in abeyance and they should be allowed to investigate further.