HC deadline nears, new Maur blast, SIT launches hunt for 3 dera followers
Bathinda With just three weeks left with the ‘new’ Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed in October, to complete the probe into Maur twin-bomb blasts and submit a report in the Punjab and Haryana high court by January 18, a hunt is on for the three accused named in the case in February 2018. Searches are on in Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, officials with the SIT claim.
Three followers of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda were booked for the blasts, in a Maruti Suzuki 800 car, on January 31, 2017. The explosions took place at the election rally of Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi, four days before voting for Punjab assembly polls was held. The blast claimed seven lives, including five children.
Jassi, whose daughter is married to the son of now jailed dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had a narrow escape.
The accused dera followers are Gurtej Singh Kala of Dabwali in Sirsa, Amrik Singh of Sangrur and Avtar Singh of Messi Majra village near Pehowa in Haryana.
The new SIT is headed by ADGP law and order Ishwar Singh with Rupnagar IG Amit Parshad; Bathinda range IG Arun Kumar Mittal and Bathinda SSP Nanak Singh as its members.
Nanak Singh said, “We have intensified our search for the accused. We are investigating the case from scratch. The probe will be completed within the stipulated time, as directed by the high court.” He added that he had visited the blast site earlier this month and spoke to affected families and witnesses.
Previous probe had yielded
four prosecution witnesses
The previous SIT that DIG Ranbir Singh Khatra headed had produced four persons — who worked as fitters and painters at a Dera Sacha Sauda workshop in Sirsa — as prosecution witnesses in a Talwandi Sabo court in February last year. It was only following this that the dera followers were named. The SIT has to file its report in the HC by January 18, with the hearing scheduled on January 30.
The new SIT was formed after Gurjeet Singh Patran of Patiala filed a petition in the HC, seeking the handing over of the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) or the Central Bureau of Investigation for speedy and fair probe.
The three accused were named in the case in Feb 2018; seven persons, including five children, were killed in the twin-blasts four days ahead of 2017 assembly polls