Ahead of Arvind Kejriwal’s three-day visit to Punjab beginning Sunday, the Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Mehrauli (South) in Delhi, Naresh Yadav, was on Saturday named in an FIR related to a recent case of alleged ‘desecration’ of the Quran.
Sangrur police booked Yadav after the alleged mastermind in the case, Vijay Kumar, told the police that he had “desecrated” the Quran at the behest of Yadav, and was offered Rs 1 crore.
Earlier, the police had arrested three men — Vijay Kumar, Nand Kishore Goldy and Gaurav — who have reportedly confessed.
The police had claimed that Vijay Kumar wanted to “take revenge for Dinanagar and Pathankot terrorist attacks” and had told them he “hated Pakistan and Muslims”.
Nand Kishore, who is zonal secretary of the VHP in Pathankot, along with son Gaurav, allegedly “helped” Vijay in the conspiracy.
During raids in Delhi, the police had also recovered an Audi car belonging to Vijay Kumar in which more “torn pages” of the Quran were allegedly found.
There was arson in Malerkotla on the night of June 24 after pages of the Quran were found dumped near a drain on Khanna road. A mob attacked and set Akali Dal MLA Farzana Alam’s home on fire leading to communal tension. The mob also exchanged gunfire with the police, leaving several injured.
Sangrur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Pritpal Singh Thind told The Sunday Express that Vijay Kumar has also claimed that on June 24 before he (Kumar) left from Delhi for Malerkotla, he had a meeting with Yadav.
“Vijay Kumar has claimed that in Malerkotla, he was offered Rs 1 crore for tearing pages of Quran and throwing them near a drain on Khanna Road. Their plan was also to desecrate a Hindu holy book next,” said Thind.
The police added that they (the suspects) were yet to receive any money.
Vijay Kumar also claimed police that Yadav had told them that the motive was to create communal tension in Punjab and instigate people against the state government.
“Vijay Kumar told us that Yadav told him that AAP wants to win Punjab 2017 polls by hook or by crook. Thus, their plan was to instigate people on communal lines so that they vent their anger against SAD-BJP and Congress and vote for AAP in next polls. According to Vijay, the MLA told him that if they complete this ‘Quran task’ well, they were to be given more assignments in future,” said SSP Thind.
The police have now booked Yadav under sections 109 (Punishment of abetment if the act abetted is committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment) and 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of IPC.
“We will be seeking an arrest warrant for Yadav from the court,” said Thind.
The AAP described the action as political vendetta. Claiming that SAD-BJP in Punjab had gone “berserk”, AAP national spokesperson Sanjay Singh told The Sunday Express, “Akali Dal-BJP baukhla gaye hain. Inhe apni haar saaf saaf nazar aa rahi hai. Isiliye hamare MLA ko fasaya jaa raha hai. (SAD-BJP have gone berserk. They can see their defeat clearly in the upcoming polls, so our MLA is being falsely implicated to defame AAP). It is political vendetta.”
Yadav refuted all allegations, saying “I don’t know this Vijay Kumar.” “The allegations are baseless and part of a conspiracy. I do not even know details of this case yet,” claimed Yadav.