Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Raheem — facing a trial in the molestation case of a sadhvi — was on Friday charged with two murder cases.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge A.K. Verma on Friday framed charges against Singh in two separate murder cases of Dera inmate Ranjit Singh and Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chaterpati.
Singh, who had earlier taken exemption from personal appearance in the sadhvi case, was present in the court for over two hours on Friday. Saying he was not involved in the murders, the Dera chief claimed these cases were a criminal conspiracy against him.
Chatterpati, a known detractor of the Dera chief, was shot in front of his residence on October 24, 2002. Joginder Singh’s father allege his son was killed on the orders of the Dera chief on July 10, 2002. Ranjit was part of the 10-member committee running the Dera's affairs. His body was recovered from a field in Kurkshetra, in Haryana. Investigations later revealed that Ranjit was suspected to have engineered the circulation of an anonymous letter containing details of sexual abuse of the sadhvi.
Meanwhile, a CBI counsel said the murder cases' trial would commence on January 10. The bureau also examined witness Raja Ram in the sadhvi case. The case's next hearing is on January 27.