Already serving a 20-year jail sentence for rape, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is also facing conspiracy charges in two murder cases. The final arguments in the said cases began on Saturday and Ram Rahim appeared before the special CBI court, Panchkula, through video link from Rohtak’s Sunaria jail. Sources said the verdict in the murder cases will be out soon.
Ram Rahim is accused of plotting the killing of a Sirsa-based journalist, Ram Chander Chhatrapati, and one of Dera followers, Ranjit Singh.
Chhatrapati was shot dead allegedly at the behest of Dera in 2002 for reporting unlawful activities at the Dera, including sexual exploitation of women by Ram Rahim. Chhatrapati used to bring out a Hindi tabloid ‘Poora Sach’, wherein he had printed the content of the letter written to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee purportedly by a rape victim, accusing Ram Rahim of sexually exploiting women followers at the Dera.
Farmer Ranjit Singh was a manager of the Dera Sacha Sauda at Sirsa. He, too, was shot dead allegedly at the behest of Ram Rahim in July 2002. As per reports, Ranjit Singh was eliminated as the Dera suspected him of instigating the rape victims to expose the wrongdoings at the Dera.
Chhatrapati’s case is being heard by the same CBI court in Panchkula that convicted the Dera chief on 25 August of rape.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court in July had set a deadline of three months for the special CBI court to conclude the trial in Chhatrapati’s murder.
Ram Rahim had reportedly filed over 60 petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the charges against him and all these were turned down.
In an interview to The Statesman after Ram Rahim’s conviction in the rape case, Chhatrapati’s son Anshul said that after his father published the letters of rape victims, he (Ram Chander) was getting threat calls. “On 24 October 2002 he had just returned home after work when two people came to our home and called him out. He went out and the men shot him at point blank range. One of them ran towards the police post and got caught. When his pistol was recovered, it was found to be a licensed one in the name of Kishan Lal, the manager of Dera. More evidence was found which made it clear that this act was a conspiracy of Dera Sacha Sauda,” Anshul had told The Statesman.
Another case pending against Ram Rahim is that of castration of hundreds of his followers.