Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Saturday told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in Haryana that he was innocent and the bureau had framed him in collusion with anti-dera forces.
In his statement submitted under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in the Ranjit Singh murder case, the Sirsa dera head, in reply to 449 CBI questions, termed the evidence against him incorrect. To the question that he lived in a "gufa" (den) that had a passage to girls' hostel and sadhvis (woman ascetics) as guards, he replied: "I live in a simple house." He added that the witness statement about the girls' hostel and the duties of the sadhvis was prompted by the CBI and, thus, was not voluntary.In reply to the 450th question about if he had anything to say, he said: "Ranjit Singh was sewadar of Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa, till his death. He was like our son. He used to contribute his services to the social activities of the dera and buy land for satsang bhawans (Nam Charcha Ghar discourse halls) for and on behalf of the dera. His family and he served food at every bhandara (religious feast) at the dera."
The investigation by the CBI was "unfair, tainted and biased", said Ram Rahim, adding: "I had no grudge and enmity against Ranjit Singh. (Sic) CBI officers have investigated this case inimically and implicated me falsely in collusion with Paramjit Singh, Joginder Singh etc., and the anti-dera forces." He said the "anti-dera forces" had prepared and distributed the anonymous letter among the general public to defame him and his sect.
"I am innocent… I did not conspire to murder Ranjit Singh. Dera Sacha Sauda is like an open book. There is no restriction on the movement of anybody in the dera," he said. The anonymous letter to which he referred was regarding the exploitation of sadhvis inside the dera.
On July 10, 2002, the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in Kurukshetra murdered Ranjit Singh. The CBI alleges that Ranjit was killed because Ram Rahim suspected him to be behind the anonymous letter that accused him of sexual exploitation.
Other than Ram Rahim, Sabdil, Jasbir, Krishan Lal, Indersen and Avtaar are accused in the case. The sadhvi's letter was also addressed to the-then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Ranjit Singh was shot in the head on his way home from fields after bringing tea to his father.
Rape case: plea to examine four witnesses dismissed
Ram Rahim moved an application through his counsel to examine four more witnesses in a rape case against him.
"We submitted that the court had settled the issue already by curtailing the defence list. Now only Tek Chand Sethi will be examined and Ram Rahim himself could depose, if he wants," said HPS Verma, counsel for the CBI. The CBI special court dismissed the application of Ram Rahim and also issued non-bailable warrants against Sethi, since on Saturday, he did not appear for recording his statement.