Chandigarh: Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda here on Thursday termed the CBI closure report in the Bargari sacrilege case as bad in law. The agency had no jurisdiction in the matter after the state government withdrew the cases from it last year, Nanda said.
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 issued a formal notification to withdraw the cases from the agency in September 2018, said Nanda.
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 in a statement.
The Advocate General found the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) decision to file the closure report, all of a sudden, to be "intriguing", and said the move clearly indicated the agency's newfound hurry to give a clean chit to the accused in the cases.
Nanda also expressed surprise at the CBI's stand that the state was a stranger to the events, and thus not entitled to a copy of the closure report. This stand, he said, was absurd, considering that the agency itself had, in its closure report, cited the "reports" and "inputs" of the Punjab Police.
Explaining the legal position in the matter, the Advocate General said as per section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (under which the CBI operates), the consent of the state government is required to investigate, under the Indian Penal Code, criminal offences which have taken place in such a state.
The earlier Akali Dal regime had granted the consent. But on September 6, 2018, in line with a resolution of the Assembly, the state had passed a formal notification withdrawing the cases from the CBI.
He said this action was legally upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in its January 25 order in a case filed by some accused police officers.
The high court had, in fact, noted that the CBI had, despite the lapse of almost three years, made no progress in investigation.
In contrast to the CBI's failure to make any progress in the cases, the special investigative team set up by the state to probe these cases had made significant headway, said Nanda.