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Akshay Kumar appears before Punjab SIT, denies meeting Sacha Sauda chief

Akshay Kumar appears before Punjab SIT, denies meeting Sacha Sauda chief

Chandigarh: Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar appeared Wednesday before a special investigation team, dismissing allegations that he arranged a meeting between former Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and controversial godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The five-member SIT formed by the Punjab government is probing police firing at Faridkot's Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura on people protesting over the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Two people had died in the police firing in 2015.

The self-styled godman's supporters were alleged to be involved in cases of desecration, after pages of the religious text were found torn and scattered.

Akshay Kumar's counsel later told reporters that the actor denied having ever met the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, who is currently serving a 20-year jail term in two rape cases.

The SIT questioned the actor as his name figured in the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on the sacrilege incidents, which was tabled in the Punjab Assembly in August.

It was alleged that the actor brought together Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and the then deputy chief minister to ensure the release in Punjab of MSG-2, a controversial movie made by the sect chief. The actor was quizzed for about two hours at the Punjab police headquarters in sector-9 here.

He told the SIT that he never met Dera Sacha Sauda chief in his entire life. So the question about any meeting does not arise, the actor's counsel Sant Pal Singh Sidhu told reporters.

He said the claim by former MLA Harbans Jalal before the Ranjit Singh Commission about the meeting are concocted .

Even the Commission report has not placed any reliance on these claims saying these are based on 'hearsay', the counsel said. Akshay Kumar has not been asked to appear again before the SIT, Sidhu said.

The counsel said the actor told the SIT members that he respected all the religions, particularly the Sikh religion.

The counsel was not present with Akshay Kumar when he was quizzed. Even before his SIT appearance, the actor had denied mediating between the Shiromani Akali Dal president and the sect chief.

The former MLA wrote to the Ranjit Singh Commission on October 9, 2017, claiming that a meeting took place between Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and Sukhbir Singh Badal at the actor's flat in Mumbai in 2015 in connection with the release of MSG-2.

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