New Delhi: A special CBI court will on Thursday pronounce the quantum of punishment to convicted Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and three others through video-conferencing for their sentencing in the murder case of a journalist.
The court of Wednesday allowed authorities in Haryana to produce Ram Rahim and others before it through video-conferencing.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Panchkula and Sirsa — headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect headed by self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh — and other parts of Haryana to maintain law and order situation, officials said.
Security has also been stepped up outside the Panchkula court complex with Haryana police putting up barricades on roads leading to the court.
The court had held Ram Rahim and his three close aides guilty of conspiracy to murder journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.
Krishan Lal, a former manager of the sect, Kuldeep and Nirmal, who were both carpenters and followers of the sect, who were convicted with Ram Rahim, have been lodged in the Ambala jail.
The sentencing will be announced by the Central Bureau of Investigation court judge Jagdeep Singh in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh.
Chhatrapati, who edited a newspaper in Sirsa, was shot five times on October 24, 2002 in Sirsa town in Haryana. He died on November 21 in a hospital in New Delhi after battling for life.
Ram Rahim had appeared before the court on Jan 11 through video conferencing from the Sunaria prison near Rohtak in view of security concerns raised by the Haryana Police and the government.
The same CBI judge had convicted the sect chief on two counts of rape on August 25, 2017 and sentenced him to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.
Chhatrapati’s son Anshul has demanded capital punishment for the disgraced self-styled godman. Security forces in Haryana and Punjab have been on alert since Jan 10 in view of the case judgment against Ram Rahim.
Security was beefed up in Rohtak and Sirsa towns in Haryana and some parts of Punjab. Security was increased around the sect’s headquarters campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town, around 260 km from here. Sect followers were not allowed to gather in big numbers.
Khatta Singh, a former driver of the controversial sect chief, had earlier told the court that Ram Rahim had ordered the killing of the journalist. Last Friday, Khatta Singh said that he was satisfied that justice had been done.
Ram Rahim’s conviction had led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 41 people dead and over 260 injured, on August 25, 2017.