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Mystery over vendor, writing samples persists 

Chandigarh: The CBI has filed the closure report into sacrilege incidents even as it could not unravel the mystery over the identity of a muskmelon seller seen at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala Gurdwara on the day a saroop of Guru Granth Sahib was stolen on June 1, 2015.

Previous investigations have also not been able to identify the man who had visited the gurdwara around noon on that day for making an announcement about selling muskmelons.

Also, the CBI filed the closure report without even waiting for the forensic report on handwriting samples of at least 39 suspects in the Bargari poster sacrilege case. The CBI had more than two years to get the handwriting analysis report of the suspects.  

A perusal of the report by The Tribune reveals that on Page 15, the report mentions, “The fingerprint and specimen handwriting of 49 persons were collected and sent to the CFSL, New Delhi, for comparing with the writings/fingerprints available on the three posters pasted at the gate of gurdwaras at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari villages. The report of all persons except 10 (Dera follower Mohinder pal Bittu and his nine accomplices) arrested by the police is still awaited.”

The CBI gave a clean chit to the 10 arrested accused saying their handwriting/fingerprints did not match with the posters. In its indirect defence of the argument, the CBI says fingerprints of all suspects (including that of the 39) did not match with the posters.

The mention of a muskmelon seller (kharbuje wala) was made by two important witnesses to the theft of Guru Granth Sahib. These were head granthi Gora Singh of Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village and his wife Swaranjeet Kaur. Gora Singh is the complainant in the case. In his statement, he said, “Around 2:30 pm on June 1, one kharbuje wala arrived in front of the gurdwara to make announcement from the mike for selling the fruit. My son had taken him to the darbar hall where the bir was kept.” Swaranjeet Kaur also told the same about the fruit vendor in her statement.

Though the investigating agencies including two SITs of the Punjab Police (one led by ADGP Inderpreet Sahota and another DIG R Khatra) had questioned almost everyone in the vicinity, they have not identified the fruit vendor. It is quite possible that he had no role, but he may have seen something that would have helped the investigators.

Gora Singh confirmed that the fruit seller was never identified. “The police tried initially. However, the pursuit may have been left as my son and his friends said they did not see him carrying anything outside the gurdwaras,” he said.

A woman living in the vicinity had first claimed that she had seen two clean-shaven men on a motorcycle near the gurdwara. Later, she withdrew her statement saying she was scared and did not want to say anything. The report by DIG R Khatra’s SIT mentions three persons, who came on a motorcycle to steal the “bir”. It remains to be seen if the vendor had seen the motorcycle riders or anything else to contribute to the case.

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