New Delhi:  A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court on Friday convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and his three close aides —  Nirmal Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Krishan Lal for the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. The judgement was pronounced by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court judge Jagdeep Singh in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh.

The sentencing will be pronounced on Thursday, January 17, said the CBI counsel. The 51-year-old sect chief appeared for the verdict via video conferencing.  He is already serving a 20-year prison term in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail for raping two of his women followers.

Meanwhile, Chhatrapati’s son Anshul  has demanded capital punishment for the disgraced self-styled godman. Speaking to reporters after the court’s verdict, he (Anshul) said,” “Such a man is not fit to live in our society. We demand that he should be given capital punishment. We were hoping for the past 16-17 years that we would get justice. We have got justice today after suffering for so long.”

He added,”We had to face a lot of difficulties and suffer a lot as he was very powerful. We thank the CBI team that investigated the case and supported us. This man should get the death sentence.”

Sirsa, Panchkula and neighbouring regions were kept on high alert, with additional police force being deployed in the area. In August 2017, violence had erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana following the conviction of Dera sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, leaving over 40 persons dead and scores of people injured.

About the case: 

Ram Chander Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after his newspaper, ‘Poora Sach’, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by Gurmeet Ram Rahim at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. The journalist later succumbed to injuries and a case was registered in 2003. The case was handed over to the CBI in 2006.