'Sadhu,' involved i death of two men in 1997, arrested

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (UNI) A self-styled sadhu on the run since 1997, was today arrested for his alleged involvement in a village panchayat decision which led to the death of two men.

The incident took place in 1997 and Punja Ram alias Punja Sadhu (62) was part of the village panchayat decision which led to the death of two men in the river Yamuna, police said today.

In 1997, one Mohan Lal married Meera but after passing of some months the man left his wife suspecting her character.

A panchayat of the Gujarati Society, to which both parties belonged to, was conducted which decided that both Mohan Lal and Meera's brother Lalit would take a dip in the water of the river Yamuna for seven minutes.

The panchayat decision was that if the husband comes out first, Meera will be presumed to be good and if Lalit comes out first she will be taken granted for bad character.

On October 18, 1997, the Panchayat member's along with Mohan Lal and Lalit reached Kudesia Ghat of the river for the execution of this orthodox self styled test of truthness.

Two bamboo sticks were inserted in the bed of the river Yamuna and Mohan Lal and Lalit were asked to sit in the water by holding the bamboo stick for seven minutes.

After seven minutes none of them came out of the water and later their dead bodies were fished out from the river.

A case was registered then.

Police recieved an information regarding Punja Ram who was arrested this morning from his residence in Raghubir Nagar.

During interrogation, police claimed, that Punja Ram belonged to Dhamdhara Gujrati Samaj.

He told police that he was sure for the deceased Mohan Lal and was also a member of Panchayat of the Gujrati Samaj.

On the day of incident, he said, both the boys drowned in the river Yamuna as no one wanted to be called a lier.

Punja said he knew about police action and in order to evade arrest, he changed his residential address and became a sadhu and living in one or the other temples of Gujrati Samaj in Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and other places.

UNI AN GT RK2130

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