The murder of the head of a 'sufi' dargah on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur national highway near Khukhrana village, 17 km from here, has left intelligence agencies, including the state police, in a state of confusion about his background.
Baba Paras Mani, 33, head of Dargah Baba Farid, was shot dead by two unidentified youths while he was treating a patient by giving him 'blessings' and sprinkling 'holy water' at the dargah on Saturday late evening.
A police officer said it is believed that it could be out of personal enmity. No arrest has been made so far.
According to highly-placed sources, Baba was under the watch of intelligence agencies since he established the dargah along the road leading to the Hussainiwala border as no one knew about his background. Some people also suspected him to be an agent of Pakistan intelligence agency.
Interestingly, the police and intelligence agencies are divided about Baba's history.
Police officials say that Baba was a resident of Jalandhar while other agencies believe that he belonged to Ludhiana.
Reliable sources revealed that the central intelligence agencies had also been investigating Baba's connection to New Delhi.
Strangely, none of Baba's followers has any information about his origin and background.
According to sources, six years ago, the Baba had tried to set up a dargah at Darapur village in this district, but in view of resentment of nearby villagers, he purchased two-acre agriculture land on the national highway and constructed the dargah.
He had also erected a huge statue of sufi saint Baba Farid at the main entry of the dargah, that had led to a controversy among various religious sections.
The intelligence agencies as well as the police have conducted several inquiries about his background, but to no avail.
Some followers, who were present at the dargah, told the Hindustan Times that, during the past three years, several cultural events had been organised at the dargah by the Baba.
Renowned Punjabi singers Gurdas Mann, Nooran-Jyoti Sultana and some other sufi singers used to perform during functions at the dargah.
The sources revealed that, during the last assembly and recent Lok Sabha elections, leaders of different parties had visited the dargah to seek blessings of the Baba.
The police said that two youths entered the dargah with other followers and opened fire at the Baba killing him on the spot.
Police officials said that preliminary investigations revealed that Baba Paras Mani did not enjoy good relations with the nearby villagers.
According to the police, Baba had come in contact with another person of adjoining Chotian Kalan village and had motivated his mother that he would construct a hospital at Khukhrana at an estimated cost of `15 lakh.
The family had given him `15 lakh, but he purchased a plot claiming that he would later construct the hospital to which the family members had opposed.
Senior Superintendent of Police Gursharan Singh Sandhu said, "There is no clue yet about the Baba's connection with the Pakistan's ISI or any other spy agencies so far, however, we are investigating the entire matter."
"A case has been registered against unknown armed people under Section 302 of IPC at Sadar police station on the statement of Sandeep Singh, a resident of Darapur, who is also a follower of Baba Paras Mani," said the SSP.
Meanwhile, the autopsy of the body of the Baba was conducted by a special panel of doctors on Sunday evening at Dr Mathura Dass civil hospital here. The doctors confirmed that Baba had got serious injuries with bullets on head and chest.
According to the police, the body was handed over to followers of the Dera Baba Farid. Sandeep Singh said that cremation will be held at the Dera on Monday afternoon.