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Sacrilege incidents: Accused took orders from dera chief's PA, hints SIT

SIT report to Ranjit Singh panel says dera followers were upset with then govt for not releasing MSG-2 in Punjab.

punjab Updated: Aug 14, 2018 09:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Sacrilege incidents,dera chief,Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission
Police vehicles gutted during a protest in 2015 against alleged sacrilege in Kotkapura. Zora Singh panel was set up that year to probe the sacrilege and incident of police firing on protesters.(HT File )

The special investigation team (SIT), probing the incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, in its report to the Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission, has hinted at the involvement of top management of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda.

The SIT, headed by deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Ranbir Singh Khatra, says the arrested accused Mohinder Pal alias Bittu took directions from a top dera functionary, Rakesh Dirba, who was personal assistant of the dera chief.

“The conspiracy was hatched by some dera followers who were upset with then (Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party) government for not releasing the movie, Messenger of God-2, starring their sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in Punjab,” it says.

The report also says that Bittu was the main person behind the conspiracy and part of the 45-member committee of the dera. The six-page report submitted to the panel on June 15 this year states that Bittu and three other prominent members of the dera had first planned to eliminate Sikh preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal, who has been opposing the congregations of the dera chief in Punjab. The plan was, however, called off after opposition from members of a district-level committee.

Piecing together the incidents of a “bir” being stolen first from a gurdwara at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in Faridkot, the pasting of inflammatory posters and later the sacrilege incident at Bargari, the report says Bittu revealed the plot and the six co-conspirators arrested have admitted to their role in these incidents.

Khatra said SIT got leads while probing sacrilege incidents at Gurusar village in Bathinda district in October 2015 and Malke village in Moga district in November the same year. “We have submitted two reports. One to the Ranjit Singh Commission and the other to the CBI,” he said.

Questions raised over SAD ticket to Khatra’s son

While the Ranjit Singh panel has commended the investigation by Khatra-led SIT, questions are now being raised over the ticket given to Khatra’s son, Satbir Singh Khatra, by the Shiromani Akali Dal in 2017 polls. Satbir had contested against Congress’ Brahm Mohindra from Patiala (Rural) segment. When asked, Khatra said his son had contested as an independent candidate from the same seat in 2012 polls too.

“He runs an NGO and got SAD ticket in 2017. He is 37 now and a father of two. He takes his own decisions,” he said. On the ticket controversy, AAP rebel leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said Khatra’s son may have got the SAD ticket but as a police officer and SIT head, Khatra has put facts on record and cracked the case.

First Published: Aug 14, 2018 09:43 IST