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Desecration cases can be withdrawn from CBI and given to SIT, opines Punjab AG

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Press Trust of India Chandigarh
Days after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe incidents of sacrilege in the state, Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda today said the ongoing CBI investigations into these could be withdrawn with the Centre's consent.
"There is no bar in withdrawing cases from CBI," Nanda said.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday had in the state Assembly announced an SIT of the Punjab Police for time-bound investigation into Bargari and other desecration cases as well as firing incidents in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura.
The announcement came after the House passed a resolution to withdraw CBI investigations into the cases and get the incidents probed by an SIT.
"Where the (CBI) investigation is already going on, the withdrawal of the case will depend upon the Government of India, CBI and the concerned court. With their consent, the case can be withdrawn," Nanda told PTI today.
It is a sentiment of all the representatives of people that this should come back to Punjab, Nanda said.
I am sure that good sense will prevail upon the central government and they will yield to the desire of people of Punjab, he added.
Nanda said where the FIR had not been yet registered, it will be the right of the state to withdraw those cases from the CBI.
Some legal experts reportedly citing a 1994 Supreme Court judgment in Sikkim ex-CM Nar Bahadur Bhandari versus Union of India case have said the government could not recall cases once handed over to CBI.
The CBI is already probing three desecration cases including the theft of a 'bir' (copy of Guru Granth Sahib) from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in Faridkot.
On July 30, the Congress government announced handing over the probe into Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing that followed the Bargari sacrilege to the CBI.
AAP MLA H S Phoolka said the state government was entitled to withdraw cases from CBI on valid grounds.
"In the present case, the case is being withdrawn because the Ranjit Singh Commission has stated in its report that the CBI has not made much progress. It's a highly emotive issue in Punjab and the delay in investigation is causing unrest among the people of Punjab. Therefore, withdrawal of the case from CBI and time bound investigation by SIT of Punjab Police is a valid ground," Phoolka said.

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First Published: Aug 30 2018 | 7:45 PM IST

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