Punjab desecration row: ‘Discrepancy’ in number of torn pages led to brothers’ arrest

An official associated with the investigation said it was one of the brothers or both who had taken the ang from the protest site at Kotkapura and handed them over to Beant Singh.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh | Published:October 23, 2015 10:24 am

A DISCREPANCY in the number of torn pages from the Guru Granth Sahib initially found scattered in village Bargari in Faridkot on October 12, and the number of pages handed over to the police, is likely the main reason for Tuesday’s arrests of brothers Rupinder and Jaswinder, said a police official associated with the investigation team.

“The number of ang (pages) found in village Bargari were 112 as counted by a committee of Sikh activists. The ang were taken to the protest site at Kotkapura and later handed over to Kotkapura-based Beant Singh, an associate of religious preacher Baba Panthpeet Singh. When police counted the ang, as they took it from Beant Singh, the number was 115, three more than the number reported at the time of recovery in village Bargari,” an official associated with the investigations told The Indian Express on Thursday.

He said it was one of the brothers or both who had taken the ang from the protest site at Kotkapura and handed them over to Beant Singh.
That is how the needle of suspicion pointed to Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh in the sacrilege incident, and it was after this, the official said, that they came under surveillance and police tapped their phones. Police suspect they slipped in the additional pages.

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In excerpts from the call transcripts released by police, Jaswinder is heard asking his brother: “The torn (pages) or others?” when Rupinder mentions an “important task” and says that a person is in possession of “Maharaj da samaan..ang”.

The head of the Special Investigation Team probing the incident Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, who is also the Additional Director General of Police in-charge of the Bureau of Investigation, confirmed the “mismatch” in the count, but said the police were still investigating the matter.

Sahota also said the two brothers had come under police radar before the discovery of the discrepancy.

The official was sanguine about the police allegation that the entire desecration conspriacy was hatched in Australia and Dubai, despite a Melbourne resident claiming that a number relased by the police on Tuesday belonged to him, and that he sent money to Rupinder only for medical treatment.

“Everything is clear in the excerpts of transcripts we released. Everything will be clear as we investigate the case further,” said Sahota.

On Wednesday, Sukhjit Singh of Melbourne, formerly of Kotkapura, trashed the police version of a “foreign hand” behind the incident in a radio show in Australia. He claimed he had sent money to Rupinder for treatment after learning that he was injured during the protests.

The police had not given out the names of any person abroad under investigation, but faced with Sukhjit’s denial, Sahota said they would investigate his claim.

Shiromani Akal Dal (Amritsar) leader Jaskaran Singh, meanwhile, said the pages recovered from Bargari were 125. “There were 125 ang of the Guru Granth Sahib recovered from Bargari. Police were seeking to take possession of the ang. After talking to our lawyers we initially did not hand over those to police as we consider Guru Granth Sahib a living Guru. Later, the ang reached Beant Singh, an associate of Baba Panthpreet Singh, from whom police took the ang,” said Singh. The ang are now being kept at a gurdwara in Muktsar Sahib, it was learnt.

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