Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Tuesday recorded his statement through video-conferencing before the CBI Special Court, Haryana, under section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), wherein he refuted the allegations of rape of two women.
He was put to 208 questions based on prosecution evidence against him, to most of which his reply was - "It is incorrect".
To the 207th question - "Do you want to say anything else?" - he replied, "I am innocent. I had never raped anyone. Since 1990, I am not medically or physically fit to have sex. I am not potent."
He added, "I promote drug-free life, inspire people to stand against female foeticide. I used to arrange marriages of prostitutes to settle them at good places. Hundreds of social activities are being carried out by me and millions have been inspired by my social welfare activities. Drug mafia, anti-religious people, political persons and other dera institutions are against me. In order to defame me, this false rape case has been foisted upon me. All allegations of rape and allied facts are false…"
Talking about one of the rape victims, he said that she had written him a letter on her departure from the dera, wherein she admitted that how he was a father figure to her and "I too treated her as a daughter". "Till today, I am in confusion that the allegations of rape which are levelled against me pertain to which date and place," he said.
He talked about letters written to a rape victim by a person, which made her feel "defamed and dishonoured". "Because of that she did not want to live at the dera. But till her departure, she had full faith in me," he said.
About another rape victim, he said that she, along with some anti-Dera Sacha Sauda elements, hatched a conspiracy and "given a false statement against me".
"There are contradictions in the reply of the accused which we will raise at an appropriate time. The defence evidence will start from February 22," said HPS Verma, counsel for the CBI.
There are two rape victims in the case. In 2002, anonymous letters addressed to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and chief justice of Punjab and Haryana high court were circulated, alleging sexual exploitation of female followers at Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa.
Taking cognisance of the letter, the Punjab and Haryana high court had then ordered Sirsa sessions judge to look into the matter, who gave his report on September 3, 2002, that possibility of sexual exploitation could not be ruled out.
On September 24, 2002, justice Adarsh Kumar Goel handed over the case to the CBI.
Both the rape victims used to work as teachers in a school run by the dera.
It is probably first of its kind case where an accused, who is out on bail, recorded his statement under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) through video-conferencing. The benefit to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been given due to security issues.