17 deras in Haryana, Punjab were run at Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s whims and fancies, HC told | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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17 deras in Haryana, Punjab were run at Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s whims and fancies, HC told

The report was prepared on the high court’s direction on a plea from a section of dera sadhus who had claimed that these 17 deras established before 1990 be opened for followers for paying obeisance at the places where the dera founder, Shah Mastana, performed meditation.

punjab Updated: Nov 10, 2017 12:10 IST
Surender Sharma
Gurmeet Ram Rahim
Gurmeet Ram Rahim (HT File )

Seventeen prayer centres of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda were run at the whims and fancies of sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the court commissioner appointed to monitor the dera told the Punjab and Haryana high court.

“The managements of 17 deras (of which 15 are in Haryana two in Punjab) have no separate or independent entity ...None of them have source of income independent of the dera headquarters,” court commissioner Anil Kumar Singh Panwar, who was appointed by the high court, said in his report.

The report says all these deras were managed by Ram Rahim after 1990 when he became the sect head on account of a will of Shah Mastana’s successor Sant Satnam.

The report was prepared on the high court’s direction on a plea from a section of dera sadhus who had claimed that these 17 deras established before 1990 be opened for followers for paying obeisance at the places where the dera founder, Shah Mastana, performed meditation. They had also argued that since they were founded by Shah Mastana, these deras be not attached as these were separate entities independent of the dera headquarters.

Ram Rahim was convicted in two rape cases on August 25 and was awarded 20-year jail term. In the aftermath of his conviction, over 40 people died in Punjab and Haryana and properties worth crores were damaged in violence for which dera followers and management is being held responsible. It is being demanded that damages be recovered from the dera.

Of Haryana deras, 13 are in Sirsa and one each is in Fatehabad and Hisar, while Punjab deras are located in Bathinda and Muktsar. Of these properties, 10 were created before 1960, when Shah Mastana died, while the rest came into existence thereafter.

The report says all these deras were managed by Ram Rahim after 1990 when he became the sect head on account of a will of Shah Mastana’s successor Sant Satnam.

As Shah Mastana did not lay down rules for dera governance, Ram Rahim got the control of these properties after 1990. “He had complete powers to remove and appoint board of trustees responsible for running the dera affairs,” the report notes, adding that neither the deras showed their income and even their electricity bills were being paid by the dera headquarters.