India / Dera Sacha Sauda's Gurmeet Ram Rahim jailed for life for murder; fined ₹31 lakh

Zoom News : Oct 18, 2021, 05:44 PM
Panchkula: A special CBI court in Panchkula on Monday awarded life imprisonment to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, and four others, in a 2002 murder case.

The court also slapped a fine of ₹31 lakh on Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and ₹50,000 on each remaining accused. The other four accused include Jasbir Singh, a follower of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh; Krishan Lal, a manager of Dera Sacha Sauda; Sabdil, the gunman of Dera chief; and Avtar Singh, an important functionary of the sect.

“All five convicts including Ram Rahim have been awarded life sentence,” CBI special public prosecutor, HPS Verma told Hindustan Times.

Already serving prison terms for rape and another murder, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on October 8 convicted for conspiring the murder of his former manager Ranjit Singh in 2002.

“We are satisfied (with the punishment). It has been a long battle for my family. We have lived in fear all these years but has fought to get justice,” Jagseer Singh, son of Ranjit Singh, said outside the court while reacted to the sentencing.

While the Dera chief appeared through video conferencing from Rohtak's Sunaria jail, where he is lodged, the four others were present in the court at the time of sentencing. 

Tight security arrangements were made at the Panchkula district court complex for the hearing. The authorities imposed prohibitory orders against the assembly of five or more people in the entire district anticipating violence by the followers of the convicted godman. As many as 36 people were killed in Panchkula in August 2017 after a local court convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case.

The self-styled godman was produced before a special CBI court in Panchkula on October 12, but the court reserved its order on the quantum of sentence and decided to hear the case on Monday. 

A former follower of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Ranjit Singh was shot dead by four assailants on July 10, 2002, at his native village in Kurukshetra's Khanpur Kolian.

The Central Bureau of Investigation officials in their chargesheet said Ranjit Singh was murdered as Gurmeer Ram Rahim Singh suspected that he was behind the circulation of an anonymous letter highlighting the sexual exploitation of female disciples on the Dera premises.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is already serving a 20-year jail term for raping two followers and has been sentenced to life for the murder of a journalist in 2002.

According to a report published in Hindustan Times, at least three cases were lodged against Gurmeet Ram Rahim between 2002 and 2003. While the first case pertains to the sexual exploitation of women disciples, the second involved murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. The third, the latest in which Gurmeet Ram Rahim was convicted last week, is related to the murder of his disciple Ranjit Singh.