Praveen Babbar, a hotelier from Karol Bagh in Delhi, Kalyaneshwar Gautam from West Champaran in Bihar and Santosh Singh from Mirzapur in UP were arrested late on Sunday when they tried to sell the the 200-year-old hand-written copy of the holy book. A case of defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion (Section 295 of IPC) and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (Section 153 A of IPC) has been registered against them.
“We have taken the accused in five-day police remand. The preliminary inquiries reveal that they had purchased the copy from Bihar for Rs 15 lakh,” Karol Bagh Station House Officer, Ram Mehar Singh, told The Indian Express, adding that raids are on nab a Gurgaon-based businessman involved in the case.
As per the police the trio had tried to sell the Guru Granth Sahib through a property dealer in Badshahpur in Gurgaon. Babbar had asked the Gurgaon property dealer to search for a person who could buy the hand written copy of the holy book for Rs 20 crore.
“The Gurgaon businessman discussed it with a Sikh person,” the SHO said.
“The Sikh man further discussed the matter with the president of a Gurdwara committee, who later went to property dealer’s place to have a look at the manuscript. Later, the Gurdwara Commitee president, who is also complainant in the case, expressed resentment over the sale of the holy book ,” Singh said, adding that the after this the property dealer got afraid and everyone leave his place.
While Babbar, Gautam and Santosh Singh have been arrested, a team of Delhi police is in Bihar to investigate the matter. “The police are trying to ascertain as to from where the copy was procured,” SHO added.
As per some reports the manuscript may have been stolen from Gurdwara in Bihar.
The arrested trio, SHO said, came into contact with each other as Babbar was in export and import business in the past and was acquainted with Kalyaneshwar. Gangeshwar, the younger brother of Kalyaneshwar, worked in Orissa and it was through him that Kalyaneshwar got in touch with Santosh Singh, who too worked in Orissa in stone business.
Navjeevan Gopal, Indian Express, Feb 2012