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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Charges framed against 3 dera men in sacrilege case

cities Updated: Sep 12, 2019 00:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

A Faridkot court on Wednesday framed charges against three Dera Sacha Sauda followers in a case of desecration of Sikh holy book.

On June 13, 2018, the Punjab Police’s special investigation team (SIT) led by deputy inspector general (DIG) Ranbir Singh Khatra conducted search at the houses of Mohinder Pal Bittu, prime accused in the Bargari sacrilege incident, and another dera follower Sukhjinder Singh at Kotkapura and recovered a desecrated holy book and 28 used cartridges from the former’s place. A case was registered at the Kotkapura city police station.

The court of special judge Harbans Singh Lekhi ordered that charges be framed under Sections 295-A (outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Sections 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act and Sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against Shakti Singh and Sukhjinder Singh alias Sunny Kanda of Kotkapura and Mahinder Kumar of Sangrur. The court adjourned the hearing to October 9.

The court directed the special investigation team (SIT) to bring the witnesses on the next hearing. Shakti and Sukjinder are also accused in Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari desecration incidents.

Bittu, the dera’s state committee member who was murdered in the Nabha jail in June this year, was accused of being the main conspirator in this case.

The recovered desecrated book was ‘Janam Sakhi of Guru Nanak Dev’ while the used cartridges were of .32 bore pistol.

The SIT has claimed in the chargesheet that Bittu, Shakti and Sukhjinder Singh desecrated the book at Bittu’s house and also attempted to instigate violence in 2017 to save dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim from sentence.

In a statement submitted to the court, SIT has claimed that Bittu was main dera handler in Kotkapura and received huge amount of money to distribute among sect followers to instigate violence. The accused told the court the charges against them are false and politically motivated.

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 00:57 IST