The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court, Haryana, has dismissed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s application for simultaneous proceedings and pronouncement of order in the rape case and the Ranjit Singh murder case against him.
The court said both the “cases pertain to different offences committed at different points of time and therefore, no occasion arises to hear and decide both these cases simultaneously, simply because some of the prosecution witnesses or the defence witnesses happen to be common in both the cases”.
“It is trite to say that every case is to be decided on the basis of evidence obtaining in that particular case and evidence recorded in one case cannot be looked into while deciding another case,” said the judgment.
Ram Rahim had prayed that “propriety, justice, judicial discipline and the principals of fair trial” demanded that both these cases must be heard and decided simultaneously, as from the “bare reading of the chargesheet of both the cases it was evident that these cases are interwoven”. He had contended that if one of the cases was decided first, the “comments about truthfulness of common witnesses of the second case would prejudice the either party”.
The sexual assault case was registered against Ram Rahim in 2002 and the Ranjit Singh murder case in 2003. The trial in the two cases has been going on separately eversince.
“It is also a matter of record that instant case (rape case) is at final stage of hearing and prosecution has already concluded its arguments and case is fixed for arguments on behalf of the accused and therefore, moving of such application at the fag end of the trial would force this court to observe that the instant application is nothing but an attempt to delay passing of the final judgment in this case.”
In the rape case, there are 2 alleged victims. Some anonymous letters addressed to then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court, alleging sexual exploitation of female followers at the Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa, were circulated in 2002. On September 24, 2002, the high court had handed over the case to the CBI.
Dera member Ranjit Singh’s murder took place on July 10, 2002. The CBI alleged that Ram Rahim suspected him to be behind circulation of an anonymous letter of a female dera follower levelling allegations of sexual exploitation against him, which led to his murder. Along with the dera chief, Krishan Lal, Jasbir, Indersen, Avtaar, and Sabdil are accused in the case.