Malerkotla – Acting with speed and agility, the Punjab Police on Monday cracked the Malerkotla sacrilege case, finding it the result of an accidental fire which the Granthi had reportedly tried to cover up with a concocted story of a break-in for fear of being blamed of negligence and losing his job.
The case was solved by the concerted efforts of fire forensic experts from Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Sangrur, and the findings were also corroborated by an expert team from Mumbai, led by Gopal Relkar, which was flown in today by the Punjab Police.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh lauded the collaborative efforts of these teams, under the guidance of SSP Sangrur, Sandeep Garg, and IG Patiala, AS Rai, with DGP Dinkar Gupta also monitoring the investigations and assessing the situation on the spot. Captain Amarinder commended the police for unraveling the case, which had the potential of sparking communal tensions in the state, in record time, unlike during the regime of the Akalis, who had failed to crack any of the sacrilege cases which had rocked their government, especially in 2015.
According to a police spokesperson, investigations had revealed that the fire broke out accidentally due to overheating of a wall fan inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Gurdwara in Hathoa village. The PVC casing of the fan caught fire, which in turn set aflame the orange `parna’ with which the wall fan had been tied to the Palki Sahib pillar. Both the fan and the parna fell on the carpet, which also caught fire that spread to the Birh of Guru Granth Sahib ji, causing it get singed.
The Granthi, Joga Singh, confessed to having cooked up the Darbar Hall break-in story when confronted with the forensic and circumstantial evidence. He told the investigators that he was afraid of being blamed of negligence by the villagers and of being discharged from service, the sole source of income for his family of four, by the gurdwara management committee. The thought of radicals, many of whom had also reached the gurdwara, exploiting the situation to their benefit also prompted him to come clean.
Scared by the deluge of police personnel who descended on the gurdwara immediately after the incident, the Granthi got scared and confessed to the Pradhan of the Local Management Committee. He reportedly told the Pradhan that he had installed the temporary fan, which had led to the fire, and also showed the police the half burnt cloth and the fan motor which he had tried to hide in the rear compound of his house in the Gurdwara complex