Four months after the Quran desecration incident at Malerkotla, the main accused in the case, Delhi-based businessman Vijay Kumar, Thursday said he was innocent and that he was forced by the police to name AAP MLA Naresh Yadav in the case. Kumar made the statement in a Sangrur court, where he had come to attend the hearing. Yadav also said that he had been 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 at Jarg chowk of Malerkotla town in Sangrur district. The same night, an angry mob attacked Malerkotla MLA Farzana Alam’s residence. The mob damaged property and set ablaze three vehicles. A few days after the incident, police arrested Kumar and two others, Nand Kishore and his son Gaurav from Pathankot. Kumar had reportedly told the police in custody that AAP MLA Naresh Yadav had offered him Rs 1 crore for the desecration, but he had not received the amount.
However, after the court hearing on Thursday, 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 Thursday, 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 on July 25 after being questioned by the police twice. Police had said they had enough evidence against Yadav. He was released on bail on July 31, a week after Vijay Kumar, Nand Kishore and Gaurav were released. Yadav had been charged with anti-national activity in the FIR. Asked about Kumar’s statement, Sangrur SSP Pritpal Singh Thind said, “The matter is in court. Let it decide.”