Chandigarh, Aug 28: The Special CBI Court sentenced godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years of imprisonment, 10-year each for the two rape cases in which he was convicted, confirmed Haryana government. The rape convict was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 15 lakh by Justice Jagdeep Singh.Also Read - Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, 4 Others Get Life Imprisonment in Ranjit Singh Murder Case

Dismissing reports which said Ram Rahim would serve 10 years behind the bars, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal clarified that the punishment awarded would not be cumulative. Also Read - Dera Sacha Sauda's Gurmeet Ram Rahim Convicted In Ranjit Singh Murder Case

“Gurmeet Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years, 10-10 in both cases. Both sentences to run consecutively,” Dayal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Also Read - HC Restrains CBI Judge From Pronouncing Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Ram Rahim Verdict

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar reiterated the clarification issued by CBI. “He has been sentenced for a total of 20 years,” he said.

The quantum of punishment was announced today by the CBI court, seated under a special arrangement in Sanoria Jail of Rohtak.

Ram Rahim was sentenced under Indian Penal Code sections 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (insulting the modesty of a woman).

As he was being awarded the punishment, reports say, the rape convict godman broke down, appealing the judge to be lenient towards him. “Mujhe maaf kar do (please forgive me),” he was quoted as saying in the courtroom by news channels.

Ram Rahim’s lawyer S K Narwana said the verdict of the CBI court would be challenged by them. “We will read the judgement in detail and will definitely appeal in higher courts,” he said.

The rape cases against Ram Rahim date back to 2002, when two sadhvis (female devotees) alleged sexual molestation in the Dera headquarters.

The verdict in the case was announced on Friday, when the Panchkula bench of Special CBI court declared Ram Rahim guilty of the allegations levelled against him in the probe.

Following the court order, violence ensued parts of Punjab and Haryana, with Panchkula being the worst affected. A total of 38 lives were lost in retaliatory action by the forces to contain the unrest.