The Dera chief’s troubles don’t seem to get over anytime soon. The rape trials sent him to jail for 20 years, the results of the ongoing murder trials are awaited.
He has appeared for trials via video conferencing before a CBI special court that is hearing two separate murder cases against him.
The same court had convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for two rapes on August 28.
Security is beefed up toavoid another series of riots in Panchkula ahead of a crucial hearing in two separate murder cases.
Haryana Director General of Police B S Sandhu on Friday said that adequate paramilitary and Haryana Police personnel had been stationed around the court complex in Sector 1 here and in other areas in Panchkula town to maintain law and order.
Here are some facts to know about the cases:
- A witness in the murder cases against the Dera chief, Khatta Singh, has filed an application with the court and agreed to appear before it. According to the lawyer, in 2012, Singh had changed his statement, given in 2007, out of fear. The court on September 22 will decide if his statement will be taken.
- Chhatrapati and Ranjit Singh were murdered in 2002. The sect chief is an accused in both murder cases as these were carried out allegedly at his behest.
- Chhatrapati, a journalist who wrote extensively about the activities of the Dera, was shot from point-blank range right outside his house on October 24, 2002.
- Chhatrapati was killed months after he published the anonymous letter written by an anonymous Sadhvi addressed to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee accusing the Dera chief of rape. It was this letter that set off the chain of events leading to the Dera Chief’s imprisonment.
- The other case is regarding the murder of Dera follower Ranjit Singh. His family has alleged that he was killed because he was suspected of being involved in the aforementioned anonymous letter. Singh was murdered on July 10, 2002.
- Police officials said that rapist Ram Rahim will not be physically produced in the CBI special court on Saturday. The hearing will take place through video conferencing as Ram Rahim is lodged in the District Jail in Sunaria near Rohtak. However, the seven other accused in the murder cases would be present in the court in Panchkula.
- Ram Rahim was sentenced on August 28 to 20 years in jail for the rape and criminal intimidation of two female disciples.
- The Dera chief’s conviction in the two rape cases also places the odds against him. Citing sources from the CBI, the guilty verdict in those cases would be used by the CBI to argue Ram Rahim’s antecedents. “Antecedents of an accused hold prime importance during a trial. If an accused is found to have doubtful antecedents the case against him is strengthened…,” a top CBI official told.
- His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab.
- There are no reports of Dera followers assembling in Panchkula ahead of Saturday’s hearing, unlike the rape case hearing where over 100,000 followers had congregated in the town.