Maur blast: SIT finally has 4 key witnesses, and ‘dera link’
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Maur blast: SIT finally has 4 key witnesses, and ‘dera link’

Police say the men are painters who changed colour of car eventually used in crime at workshop on premises of Sirsa dera.

punjab Updated: Feb 09, 2018 09:52 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Bathinda
Maur blast,Punjab news,Sirsa dera
Officials examining the car in which a bomb was placed in Maur on February 1 last year, a day after the blast near Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi’s election rally. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Police on Thursday claimed to have four witnesses who “knew the men” who carried out the twin blasts near a rally venue of Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi in Maur town ahead of last year’s assembly elections. The four (identity withheld by cops) worked as painters at a workshop inside the Dera Sacha Sauda complex in Sirsa, 75km from Maur, where some men got a Maruti 800 car — used in the blast that killed seven persons — painted over from red to white, shared top police officials not willing to be named.

The “first breakthrough” by the special investigation team (SIT) lends a new angle to the probe: the possibility of the crime being a handiwork of a faction within the dera, whose chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (since-jailed in a rape case) is related to Jassi, who had a narrow escape in the blasts. Earlier the police, close on the heels of the January 31 blast, had suspected it to be a handiwork of Sikh separatists or a Khalistani group.

But there has not been a single arrest so far.

The four men are the first recorded witnesses in the case, having given statements in closed proceedings before Talwandi Sabo area magistrate Gurdarshan Singh. They were brought to Talwandi Sabo by the SIT led by deputy inspector general (DIG) Ranbir Singh Khatra.

Khatra said their identity could not be shared “for the sake of their safety”. The statements are sealed with the magistrate.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 09:51 IST