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CBI closure report in sacrilege cases 'bad in law': Punjab Advocate General

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 1, 2019  | 22:02 IST

Chandigarh, Aug 1 (PTI) Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda Thursday termed the closure report filed by the CBI in sacrilege incidents "bad in law", claiming that the central agency had no jurisdiction in the matter after the state government withdrew the cases from it last year. "The CBI lost all authority and jurisdiction to continue with any investigation in the cases, much less to file a closure report, after the State Government issued a formal notification to withdraw the cases from the agency in September 2018," said Nanda, terming the closure report "bad in law". On July 4, the CBI had filed its closure report in a special CBI court in Mohali, giving a clean chit to the accused in the three incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 in Faridkot. "Instead of filing the closure report, the correct legal course for the CBI would have been to inform the Court that it was no longer charged with the investigation," Nanda said in a statement here. The AG found the CBI decision to file the closure report to be "intriguing". Explaining the legal position in the matter, the Advocate General in his statement pointed out that as per Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (under which the CBI operates), the consent of the state government concerned is required to investigate criminal offences which in the state. "Despite the earlier Akali regime having granted such consent, however, on September 6 2018, in line with a resolution of the House (assembly), the State Government had passed a formal notification withdrawing the said cases from the CBI," he said. He further pointed out that this action was legally upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in its judgment dated January 25, 2019, filed by some of the accused police officers. In its report, the CBI had rejected the findings of the Punjab Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the case. On Wednesday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said the closure report filed by the CBI in sacrilege incidents has caused a "deep sense of anguish" among the Sikh community. The chief minister had sought immediate withdrawal of the report and reopening of probe by the premier investigating agency into the cases of desecration of holy texts. The state police had named Dera followers including Mohinder Pal Bittu (who was murdered in Nabha jail last month), Shakti Singh and Sukhjinder Singh as accused in three sacrilege incidents. The previous SAD-BJP government had handed over the cases -- theft of a 'bir' (copy) of Guru Granth Sahib from a Burj Jawahar Singh Walagurdwara on June 1, 2015, putting up of hand-written sacrilegious posters in Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala on September 25 and torn pages of the holy book being found at Bargari on October 12, 2015 at Faridkot to the CBI for investigation. PTI SUN TIR TIR

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