Punjab joins opposition-led states in revoking ‘general consent’ to CBI for probing cases in state

West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have already withdrawn the ‘general consent’ to the CBI

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh
File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh
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Bipin Bhardwaj

The Congress-led government in Punjab has revoked its ‘general consent’ to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probing cases in the state. Punjab has joined several other non-BJP ruled states that have carried out a similar move. West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have already withdrawn the ‘general consent’ to the CBI.

A Punjab government notification issued on November 8 said prior consent of the Punjab government will be required by the CBI, which comes under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, to investigate any case in the state. ‘In exercise of the power conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (Central Act No 25 of 1946), the Government of Punjab hereby withdraws the general consent accorded to the members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment, anytime herein before,’ read the notification issued by the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Home Affairs and Justice.

In view of revocation of all previous general consents issued earlier, prior consent of the Government of Punjab shall be required, hereinafter, on a case-to-case basis for investigation of any offence or class of offences under section 3 of the aforesaid Act, by the Delhi Special Police Establishment, it further said.

The Punjab government had earlier withdrawn consent from the CBI for investigating the 2015 sacrilege incidents there after the state assembly had passed a resolution in this regard in 2018. Later, it handed over the probe into incidents of desecration of religious texts to the special investigation team (SIT) of the Punjab police.

Tarun Chugh, BJP national general secretary, however, took exception to the step of Punjab revoking general consent, saying there was no apparent provocation to do so. “It seems the Amarinder Singh government is scared that various ‘mafia gangs’ working in the state, mostly under the ‘patronage’ of the Congress leaders, do not come under the CBI investigation,” he alleged.

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