Naresh Yadav, Mehrauli legislator in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of Delhi state and accused in the June 24 Quran desecration case of Malerkotla in Punjab, has claimed to be a victim of political conspiracy. Talking to HT, the lawyer (44), who is also co-in-charge of Punjab affairs in the party, said he was ready to face any fair inquiry. Excerpts:
HT: Who could be behind the conspiracy you allege and why would anyone target you?
Yadav: The Akali-BJP alliance is behind this. They found a man (Vijay Kumar) who was in touch with me and got him to fix me. Vijay is an acquaintance, not close but known to me for years.
You met him on the morning of sacrilege.
I met him but not sure if it was the same morning. He had been calling me for days to seek a meeting about Punjab elections, so I called him home and we talked general issues over less than half an hour. My yoga instructor, Satyavrat, was present. We didn’t talk Holy Quran or anything about religion. If Vijay says I motivated him to burn the Quran, either he or police should have evidence. His meeting me proves nothing.
Police say the two of you had a long chat over telephone before and after the incident.
I have long chats with everyone. It is my habit.
How do you know Vijay?
From a British Council course we did in 2000. He was with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and lived in its RK Puram office. After I became MLA last year, he resumed contact with me, moved to my neighbourhood, and invited me to his grih pravesh (house warming). He told me he was into social work with some NGOs. I always associated him with the BJP, not the AAP.
How will you prove your innocence?
Truth doesn’t need to be propped. I am ready to go to jail for it.