In a setback to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court, Haryana, here on Thursday closed down his defence evidence in the rape case against him.
CBI counsel HPS Verma said, "The case is now slated for final arguments for March 21. After that, the stage of pronouncing the order will come. They couldn't bring the last witness, who is a handwriting expert, before the court on Thursday and the defence evidence has been closed. They wanted to get examined a letter allegedly written by one of the rape victims before leaving the dera. The handwriting samples of the victim were taken on the orders of the high court for matching with the letter."
The prosecution evidence had been closed earlier where 15 witnesses were examined.
What is the issue
CBI special judge, Haryana, RK Yadav, had ordered on November 15 that 28 defence witnesses had already been examined and just one more witness would be allowed as it pointed out that Ram Rahim was delaying the trial.
After that he approached the high court, where justice Daya Chaudhary ordered Ram Rahim to give a fresh list of witnesses before the trial court.
Ram Rahim submitted a list of 24 witnesses before the CBI court, wanting that the court examine each one, while the CBI opposed it. One of the witnesses had been examined. After the arguments, the CBI special court allowed examining of only five witnesses out of 23, including the handwriting expert.
In 2002, anonymous letters addressed to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court were circulated, alleging sexual exploitation of women followers at Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa. On September 24, 2002, the high court had handed over the case to the CBI.