The conspiracy to commit sacrilege in Punjab was hatched at the administrative block of self-styled religious leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s Dera Sacha Sauda at Haryana’s Sirsa, the state police has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.

A Special Investigation Team of the Punjab Police is investigating three sacrilege incidents that took place in the state in 2015. The cases are related to the theft of a bir (copy) of the Guru Granth Sahib from a gurudwara, handwritten sacrilegious posters being put up in Bargari village of Faridkot district, and torn pages of the holy book being found in the same village.

Two people were killed and 60 injured after the police had opened fire at those protesting against the incidents in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura towns.

On Friday, Senior Superintendent of Police of Batala city Mukhwinder Singh Bhullar made the submissions about the conspiracy being hatched at the Dera Sacha Sauda. In an affidavit to the High Court, Bhullar, a member of the Special Investigation Team, said that the accused in the case have made confessional statements about the conspiracy.

“The common accused Harsh Dhuri, Sandeep Bareta and Pardeep Kler, who were members of the national committee of the DSS [Dera Sacha Sauda] Sirsa, have directed the actual perpetrators of the crime to commit such acts of sacrilege in a particular area of Punjab,” The Times of India quoted from the affidavit.

The Special Investigation Team filed the affidavit in response to a plea filed by Gurmeet Ram Rahim, challenging the police’s decision to question him in relation to the sacrilege cases.

On Friday, Bhullar said that Gurmeet Ram Rahim being the chief of the sect, was bound to have been involved in the alleged crimes. He also noted that Gurmeet Ram Rahim has already been convicted in three cases of murder and rape.

“...It is an open secret that members of the dera did not do a single act without permission of the petitioner [Gurmeet Ram Rahim] and were willing to lay down their lives for him, Bhullar said.