The Punjab police Saturday questioned Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Naresh Yadav, for the second time, in connection with the Quran ‘desecration’ case. After nearly nine hours of questioning at the Crime Branch office in Sangrur district, while Yadav alleged that the police “misbehaved” with him and did not even offer him a glass of water. The Punjab police have indicated that the MLA may face arrest as he gave “contradictory replies.”
Sources said a questionnaire comprising nearly 100 questions were given to Yadav.
While Yadav is yet to be formally named as an accused in the case, the Punjab police is firm that he played a role in the alleged desecration. A team of Punjab police comprising senior officers questioned him at length. Sangrur district police chief Pritpal Singh told The Sunday Express that they were “not satisfied” with Yadav’s replies.
“We are not satisfied with the replies given by the MLA. He gave contradictory replies to the same set of questions during his two interrogations. It is likely that we may arrest him in the coming days.”
AAP state convenor Sucha Singh Chhotepur, Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann and Anandpur Sahib constituency in charge Himmat Singh Shergill accompanied Yadav inside the Crime Branch office this morning. However, they were not allowed to enter the questioning room and were asked to sit in the waiting area.
After the questioning session ended, AAP leaders alleged that the Punjab police was acting at the behest of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as the Shiromani Akali Dal was scared of the “growing popularity” of the AAP in Punjab, barely a few months before the Vidhan Sabha polls next year.
Yadav told The Sunday Express over phone, “The way Punjab police behaved with me today… it is proved that Badals are behind this entire episode. They can test their panic in the election arena rather than making religion a tool. Police made derogatory remarks at me. I am an elected representative. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Same questions were being asked by four officers and I was told to move from one room to another.”
Yadav entered the crime branch office located in Ladda Kothi, Sangrur district around 11 am. He came out of the office at 7.45 pm. Based on the statements given by the other three accused already arrested in the case, Vijay Kumar, Gaurav and Nand Kishore, police had given Yadav a questionnaire and asked him to reply.
Among those who questioned Yadav were Pritpal Singh Thind, SSP (Sangrur), Jaskaran Singh Teja, SP (Detective) and Jaskaran Singh Teja, SP (Operations). The three accused in the case, Vijay Kumar, Gaurav and Nand Kishore, were also questioned at the venue by the same team of police officers.
Sources said that while Vijay Kumar told police that he desecrated Quran at the behest of Yadav, the latter kept on denying this claim. Yadav told the police that he could be hanged if proven guilty.
“I can never think of doing such a thing even in my dreams. Our party respects all religions and people from all walks of life are with us,” Yadav told The Sunday Express.
He added, “I have answered all the questions truthfully and I am ready for further questioning. But I will not tolerate any kind of misbehaviour”.
Targetting Vijay Kumar, Chhotepur said, “He was forced to name Naresh Yadav. SAD-BJP government can stoop to any level to divert the attention of the masses, but people have made up their mind and they also know the hidden agenda of SAD-BJP.”
Apart from Yadav, Moga-based NRI and AAP leader Kewal Singh Sangha and two of his friends Shiv Kumar and Naveen Kumar were also questioned Saturday. After the questioning, Sangha claimed, “I had met Vijay Kumar once for nearly five minutes, casually, through common friends Shiv and Naresh, but there was no discussion about seeking party ticket. I had never met Naresh Yadav and that’s what I told police. I have answered all their questions.”
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