Four months after the Quran desecration incident at Malerkotla, Delhi-based businessman Vijay Kumar, the main accused in the case, said Thursday he was innocent and that he was forced by the Punjab police to name AAP MLA Naresh Yadav in the case. Kumar made this statement to a Sangrur court, where he had come to attend the case hearing. Yadav too stated he had been saying this for long that he had been falsely implicated in the case at the behest of the SAD-BJP government, particularly the Badal family.
On the night of June 24 this year, torn pages of Quran were found by the road side on Jarg chowk of Malerkotla town of Sangrur district. The same night, an angry mob attacked Malerkotla MLA Farzana Alam’s residence, causing damage to the property and torching three vehicles. A few days after the incident, the police arrested Kumar and two more from Pathankot, Nand Kishore and his son Gaurav. In police custody, Kumar named AAP MLA Naresh Yadav, saying he had offered him Rs 1 crore for the job which he was yet to get.
However, after the court hearing today, Kumar told reporters, “I am innocent. I have proof to prove my innocence.”
Asked why he had named Yadav, he said, “I was forced by the police to name him. I was told I would be implicated in cases of murder and attempt to murder if I didn’t name him.”
Yadav, who was also present at the court today, said, “I have been saying this since the beginning that I am innocent. Now, the accused himself has said he was forced to give my name.”
Kumar had named Yadav on July 3, and the latter was arrested from his Mehrauli-based party office in Delhi on July 25 after being questioned by the police twice. Police had said they had enough evidence against Yadav and claimed he and Kumar had exchanged phone calls and text messages before the incident.
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Yadav was released on bail on July 31, a week after Vijay Kumar, Nand Kishore and Gaurav were let out on bail. Yadav had been charged with anti-national activity in the FIR. The next date of hearing is December 1.
Asked about Kumar’s statement today, Sangrur SSP Pritpal Singh Thind said, “The matter is in court. Let it decide.”