Finally, the Nurmahal-based Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan (DJJS) on Tuesday night allowed an administration team inside the dera to have a first-hand account of the controversy. Dera head Ashutosh Maharaj has been declared dead by the doctors but the dera management has been claiming that he is in "samadhi" since January 27 night.
The colour of the body has turned black; the body has been kept in a refrigerated mortuary chamber, sources said.
The administration team led by Jalandhar DIG Gurinder Singh Dhillon that was asked to prepare a status report on Ashutosh Maharaj to be submitted in the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday, on Tuesday remained on its toes to convince the dera management to let them see the body.
But it was only after 9.30pm that the team was allowed to enter the premises where the body has been kept in an enclosure.
Jalandhar rural SSP Jaspreet Singh Sidhu, Nakodar DSP Harminderpal Singh, Phillaur SDM Jasbir Singh and Nurmahal SHO Vijay Gumber are the other four members of the team.
The administration categorically told the management that they had to see the body at any cost before submitting a report in the high court. "We told them that on mere certificates of their own doctors, the state government cannot file its reply in the court," said an official, who is a member of the team.
"Initially, the DJJS men were reluctant to allow us in, but they relented later. His body is lying in a mortuary and it has turned black. The DJJS is lying that there is a slight change in the colour of the body," he said.
The team has submitted its findings in a sealed envelope that has been submitted to the high court.
Another official, part of the team, said the report was prepared after the team witnessed the body.
The DIG, however, denied commenting on the issue. A dera insider also confirmed the development.
Meanwhile, the DJJS, through a press note, maintained that there was no change in the colour of the "body".
Indicating that the row on succession had been settled in the management, the press statement issued by official dera spokesman Swami Vishalananda said there was no tradition of "gaddi" in the dera and the entire property of the sansthan is the property of the registered body.
Dera likely to consult all heads
Under pressure to resolve the controversy about the samadhi claims by the dera, especially after religious leaders from various sects criticised such claims in the electronic media, the dera may soon declare Ashutosh Maharaj dead.
A senior dera official told HT that the management was taking all "facts" into consideration besides the adverse effect on the popularity of the sect following the controversy.
To avoid any backlash from its supporters, who have not liked the samadhi claims by the management and are against the way their head has been given the last "send-off", the dera is likely to call a meeting of all heads of its deras in the country to take a final call.