JALANDHAR, Punjab—On Wednesday, the Punjab government submitted status and medical reports to the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the charade of the Noormehal based cult. Medical report declared that Mahesh Kumar Jha, alias Ashutosh and head of the cult, was reported “clinically dead” on January 29th. The status report was clear that Ashutosh was not being illegally detained.
The court is hearing a habeas corpus (produce the body) petition filed by Ashutoshs former driver Puran Singh. In his petition, Puran Singh has sought the release of Ashutosh, alleging that he is in “illegal, unlawful and forcible detention as five of his followers had “turned greedy” and had illegally confined the detainee in a room with a “view to usurp the dera property”. As per the Court’s instructions, the reports were placed before the Bench in a sealed envelope.
Considering this, the court headed by Justice MMS Bedi has now ordered the petitioner to clear his stand about the maintainability of his habeas corpus petition by February 11th, as the cult head is clinically dead.
Nakodar Deputy Superintendent of Police HPS Parmar said that the Noormehal police had come to know that Ashutosh had died, but his cult management continued to claim that he had gone into “samadhi” (deep meditation). He, along with the Noormehal SHO and the Duty Magistrate, visited the cult head quarter before procuring the medical report of the doctors who attended on the alleged detainee on January 29th. “Based upon the medical report and the status report, the deponent submits that the alleged detainee is not in an illegal confinement, as alleged by the petitioner,” Parmar added in an affidavit presented before court.
The medical report prepared by Dr. Harpal Singh Nadda, Dr. Kartar Kaur, and Dr. Ashok submitted along with the affidavit clearly asserted: “Ashutosh Maharaj had sudden cardiac arrest around 12.10 am on January 29th”. A clinical examination revealed that all peripheral pulses were absent; blood pressure was not recordable; there were no spontaneous respiratory movements; all superficial and deep reflexes were absent; both pupils fixed and dilated and an ECG record showed the absence of any electrical activity.”
As per media reports, on Tuesday when senior police and administrative officials tried to visit the enclosure where Ashutosh’s body is being kept, the dera representatives initially were not ready to allow them to enter. An official, who went into the enclosure said a four-hour meeting was held with the dera representatives and they were told that a report on Ashutosh’s condition was to be submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
“The dera representatives allowed us to have a glimpse of Ashutosh only after we told them that if we are not allowed to see the body, we will be compelled to enter by force,” another officer said.
The officials who saw the body, included SSP (Rural) Jaspreet Singh Sidhu, Nakodar DSP Harminder Pal Singh, Noormehal SHO Vijay Gumber and Phillaur SDM Jasvir Singh. The condition of the body has reportedly started deteriorating with skin color turning blackish. Meanwhile, the question is being raised as to why security is being given to a dead body.