The rape trial began against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Saturday after the Punjab and Haryana high court dismissed the application of the victim against calling her to the CBI special court, Haryana, for giving specimen signatures and handwriting.
The victim's father had moved the high court against the directions to the victim to give her specimen signatures and handwriting on April 17, 2010, by the CBI special court, Haryana, on an application of Ram Rahim, which he submitted should have been moved at the time of leading his defence evidence.
He had further submitted that at this stage, Ram Rahim's application was not maintainable as the prosecution evidence was still going on.
During the victim's cross-examination, the accused through his counsel had shown her a love letter that was an important defence for Ram Rahim. She denied that she had ever written that. In these circumstances, Ram Rahim moved an application for directing the victim to give her specimen handwriting and signatures to enable him to establish his plea that the letter in question had been written/signed by her.
While allowing the application, the CBI special judge had ordered in 2010 that neither the CBI nor the accused "has produced on record any other document before this court with which the court may compare the disputed documents and may ascertain whether the disputed document was scribed" by the victim or not.
When the matter reached the high court, SK Garg Narwana, counsel for Ram Rahim, submitted that this was the only stage where such an application could be moved for taking handwriting and signature samples.
Justice Sabina on February 13 dismissed the appeal of the victim's father and commented that no prejudice could be said to have been caused to the victim "if her specimen handwriting /signatures are taken at this stage". "Rather in case her specimen signatures/handwriting are taken at this stage, the delay in disposal of the trial can be avoided," the judgment added.
On Saturday, the victim could not appear before the court as the doctor had advised her rest.
However, the husband of another victim had to depose on Saturday, but the counsel for Ram Rahim opposed it and the case was again adjourned.
The next date of hearing is February 19.
"There was a letter written to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about sexual exploitation of a woman at Dera Sacha Sauda. Soon after that Ranjit Singh, a dera follower, was murdered as he was held responsible for circulating it. Meanwhile, Ram Chander Chhatrapati was also murdered. After that Haryana Police investigated it but the CBI was handed over the cases on the instructions of the Punjab and Haryana high court," said HPS Verma, counsel for the CBI.