(Eds: Rpting after corrections throughout) Panchkula, Sep 16 (PTI) Final arguments began in the murder case of former Dera Sacha Sauda manager rpt manager Ranjit Singh allegedly involving sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a special CBI court here.
The disgraced cult leader, who is lodged in Rohtak’s Sunaria after held guilty of raping two disciples, appeared via video-conferencing in the court of the special CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh.
He has been named as the main conspirator in the case as well as another case related to the killing of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.
Meanwhile, the sect head’s former driver, Khatta Singh, approached the court seeking to record a fresh statement, his counsel Navkiran Singh said.
The will hear his application for September 22.
The CBI court is hearing the cases of killings of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh. Ram Rahim Singh is named as a conspirator in both the cases.
Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after his newspaper, ‘Poora Sach’, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters.
Ranjit was shot dead in July 2002. According to the prosecution, he was murdered for his suspected role in circulating the anonymous letter which made the allegations of sexual exploitation against the Dera chief.
During the day-long proceedings in the court today, the prosecution “read out evidences”, CBI counsel H P S Verma told reporters outside the court.
He said that the court decided to take up the two cases separately.
The court will hear the final arguments in former Dera manager Ranjit Singh’s murder case on day to day basis from September 18, while Chhatrapati’s murder case will be taken up on September 22, he said.
“The defence submitted many applications, including summoning of witnesses again in the court. The prosecution will give replies to these on September 22,” he said.
Defence counsel S K Garg Narwana told reporters outside the court that “Ram Rahim appeared through video-conferencing from Sunaria jail.”
The CBI judge had granted permission for video- conferencing yesterday after Panchkula DCP Manbir Singh moved an application, contending that the police cannot bring the Dera chief in person due to law and order issues.
The arguments in the case were held under thick blanket of security.
On August 25, after the CBI court convicted Ram Rahim Singh for raping two female disciples, violence erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa in which 41 people died. The court sentenced him to 20 years in prison on August 28.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.