Panchkula, September 16: Almost a month after his conviction, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh today attended the hearing at CBI court in two murder cases registered against him. The 50-year-old self-styled godman is already serving a punishment of 20-year imprisonment at Rohtak prison for raping two of his women devotees.
The murder case against Ram Rahim dates back to 2002, when Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera Manager Rajit Singh were allegedly killed on orders of the Dera chief.
Due to security reasons, Ram Rahim, who is lodged at Rohtak’s Sunaria jail was not brought to the CBI court, as the judge decided to attend the hearing through video conferencing.
The special CBI judge granted permission for video-conferencing on Friday after Panchkula DCP Manbir Singh said that they won’t be able to bring the accused in person due to law and order problem. The Haryana police have maintained tight security outside Rohtak prison and even section 144 CrPC have been enforced in the district for last one month.
Here are some latest updates:
- The hearing related to the brutal murder of Sirsa based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh was held in the special CBI court. Both the lawyer’s defence and public prosecutor were present in the final arguments.
- Ram Rahim who is also considered as the ‘Godman’ by his followers, has been identified as the main conspirator behind both the murders. Seven other accused who were earlier arrested have appeared before the judge in person.
- Khatta Singh, Ram Rahim’s former driver and a prime witness in the murder cases, today approached the CBI court requesting to be allowed to record a fresh statement against the Dera chief. Khatta Singh had recorded his statement before the magistrate in 2007 before retracting it in 2012. He claimed that he retracted because he was scared and was under tremendous pressure. The CBI court is likely to hear his application on September 22.
- On August 28, the Dera chief was sentenced to 20 years in jail in two separate rape cases by the same CBI court.
- The agencies have increased the security cover in and around Panchkula in Haryana to avoid any law and order situation.
- On his conviction, about 40 people were killed and over 200 were left injured in the violence.
- Contingents of paramilitary troops and dozens of police officials have been stationed in Panchkula to prevent any untoward incident.
- Journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after his evening newspaper, ‘Poora Sach’, published an anonymous letter by women alleging sexual exploitation by the sect head at the Dera headquarters. He died later.
- In 2002, former Dera manager Ranjit Singh was also allegedly shot dead the same year. Reports suggest that he was murdered for circulating the anonymous letter by the victim.
- Ram Rahim is also accused of forcing 400 Dera followers to undergo castration so they could “get closer to God”.