Punjab withdraws notification for CBI probe into sacrilege cases

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Chandigarh : The Punjab government on Thursday withdrew in the "larger public interest" its notification for entrusting the CBI with the probe into the sacrilege cases reported in the state in 2015 and opted for a SIT probe instead.

"In pursuance of the Vidhan Sabha resolution to withdraw investigation of sacrilege cases reported in 2015 from the Central Bureau of Investigation, the state on Thursday issued fresh notification to de-notify its earlier one and entrust the probe to Special Investigation Team," a spokesperson for the Chief Minister's Office said here.

He said the decision on the withdrawal of the notification through the Governor was taken in the wake of an inquiry report submitted by the Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission, which was discussed and debated in a special Assembly session on August 28.

"It was observed by the house that even after a lapse of three years, no report has been filed by the CBI... the Vidhan Sabha viewed it appropriate that the incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Kotkapura, Bargari and Behbal Kalan and related police firing, for which cases were registered and investigation entrusted to the CBI, be withdrawn and investigated by the SIT," he said.

The matter was entrusted to the CBI by the then SAD- BJP government in November 2015. Punjab's Congress government was apprehensive that the CBI may not investigate the matter properly since it pertained to the period when the Akali-BJP government was in power.

The Amarinder Singh government constituted a Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) on April 14, 2017, to inquire into the sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib and other religious books.