On Monday, a special CBI court in Panchkula awarded life imprisonment to Dera Sacha Sauda’s Gurmeet Ram Rahim and four others. This happened in the aspect of the murder case of sect follower Ranjit Singh. A fine of ₹31 lakh has been levied on Ram Rahim and ₹50,000 on the remaining accused. The special court had convicted them earlier this month in the murder case of Dera manager Ranjit Singh. There were other people whom the judge sentenced to life in jail for the crime. They are Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh, Avtar Singh, and Sabdil.
The Dera chief currently resides in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail. This was because the police caught him in 2017 for raping his two disciples. One accused in the murder of Ranjit Singh case had passed away a year ago. An anonymous person shot Ranjit Singh dead in 2002. He was the former Dera manager and also a follower of the sect. This person died on July 10, 2002, at Khanpur Kolian village in Haryana’s Kurukshetra. Someone murdered him for his suspected role in the circulation of an anonymous letter. This letter narrated how the Dera head sexually exploited women.
According to the CBI charge sheet, the Dera chief believed that Ranjit Singh was behind the circulation of the anonymous letter. He also told the police that he believed that Ranjit Singh had hatched a conspiracy to kill him.
Two years ago, a judge also awarded Ram Rahim life imprisonment for the murder of a journalist named Ram Chander Chhatrapati.
Last week, while the prosecution had completed its arguments on the last date of hearing on October 12 and demanded capital punishment, the court had deferred the hearing after the defense counsel requested time for rebuttal arguments. The special court postponed the pronouncement of the quantum of punishment till the 18th of October. The Dera chief pleaded leniency by giving the court the reports of the welfare works done by the Dera. However, the CBI opposed it and demanded the “maximum punishment” under the IPC Section 302.
“The counsel of some other convicts sought time stating that they are not ready with arguments as they have to go through the judgments cited by the prosecution,” CBI special prosecutor H P S Verma told the reporters. These reporters came to take the statement of the CBI special prosecutor. They also wanted to speak with the Dera chief Ram Rahim Singh but were not allowed to do so. On their request, the prosecutor said that the court deferred the sentencing till yesterday, that is, the 18th of October.