PUNJAB CM ASKS AG TO OPPOSE CBI CLOSURE REPORT IN BARGARI CASE
· SQUARELY BLAMES AKALIS FOR SCUTTLING BARGARI PROBE & PREVENTING JUSTICE
Chandigarh, August 6
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder on Tuesday directed the State Advocate General to oppose the CBI closure report in the Bargari case in the CBI court, saying the agency had no jurisdiction to file the report in the light of the January 2019 observations of the Punjab & Haryana High Court.
The Chief Minister has issued the directive on the basis of the judicial and legal position shared with him by AG Atul Nanda after a detailed examination of the facts and circumstances preceding the closure report, according to an official spokesperson.
Earlier, in the Vidhan Sabha, the Chief Minister held the Akalis squarely responsible for scuttling the investigations in the Bargari sacrilege case and the failure to bring the culprits to book till date.
Despite the Akalis’ efforts to obstruct justice, his government would, however, take the case to its logical conclusion and ensure justice for the victims, Captain Amarinder declared in the Assembly during the Zero Hour, while responding to the issue raised by AAP legislator Aman Arora.
Lashing out at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for its shameful and obstructive role in the entire case, the Chief Minister pointed out that they (Akalis) had first handed over the case to CBI to delay the investigations and had now pressurised it to submit a hurried closure report.
No proper inquiry was conducted by the CBI, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the central agency deliberately did not make any headway in the case under the directives of the then deputy Chief Minister and home minister Sukhbir Badal. “The CBI did no investigations because of you,” he said, pointing to the Akali benches.
The Chief Minister noted that the CBI had, in fact, shown interest in 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 fact of the CBI’s failure to make any progress in the investigations had been taken note of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chief Minister observed, reading out from the January 25, 2019, judgement in Charanjit Singh and others Vs State of Punjab.
The court, in its verdict, had stated: “In the instant case, as FIRs had already been registered by the State police and notifications issued in the year 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. A clear distinction can be drawn in this regard vis-à-vis the notifications issued in Dorji’s case. In the instant case, consent of State of Punjab was in respect of specific FIRs and in fact amounted to transfer of investigation from one investigating agency to another. Present is not a case where this Court has been called upon to test a situation where State has granted consent to CBI to register cases on its own in respect of a class of offences. On the other hand, the notification withdrawing the consent is pursuant to resolution passed by the Vidhan Sabha which in clear terms states that the investigation of cases given to CBI needed to be taken back. Besides, during the course of hearing, this Court called for the case diary of the CBI and perused the same. It was evident that investigation in the cases had hardly made any headway.”
The court had further said that “In view of the observations made above, this Court does not find any infirmity with the decision taken by Punjab Govt. to withdraw the consent under section 6 of the Act pursuant to resolution of the Vidhan Sabha. In the instant case, 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 the other hand, it forwarded the notifications to Government of India for further necessary action.”
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 Chief Minister further pointed out.
“None of the learned counsel referred to any judgment in order to show that there was any fetter on power of State Govt. to withdraw consent in such cases where investigation was transferred from State police to CBI. Besides, due to withdrawal of consent, investigation would continue with one investigation agency and not partially with two separate agencies. The chain of events shows that same are inextricably linked, thus this court does not feel the necessity to interfere in the decision of the State Govt. to withdraw investigation from CBI or to set-aside consequent notifications,” he further read from the court’s order.
Captain Amarinder also highlighted the fact that the court had found the SIT set up by the state government to be fully equipped to handle the probe. He cited the court’s remarks: “This court has no doubt that for the purpose of arriving at logical conclusion, the SIT shall employ all investigative skills and forensic methods at its command and conclude the investigation expeditiously.”
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 told the House.