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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Rape victim's last letter to decide dera chief's fate

Bhartesh Singh Thakur , Hindustan Times  Panchkula, July 28, 2013
First Published: 00:33 IST(28/7/2013) | Last Updated: 00:35 IST(28/7/2013)

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's defence is resting on the last letter written to him, as he claims, by one of the rape victims.

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The dera head said that in her last letter, which she had written in April 2001, the day when she had left the dera, she had not mentioned about the sexual assault and a rape complaint against him was an afterthought.

There are two rape victims in the case.

On Saturday, the victim appeared before a special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Panchkula, where she rewrote one-and-a-half pages of the three-page letter, as asked, so that it could be proved with the help of handwriting expert whether she had written that letter or not.

The letter addressed Ram Rahim as "pita ji" (father) and consistently apologised for faults. The letter, which bears the victim's name, praised the dera head while depicting a low opinion of herself.

It said that she did not feel herself fit to live in the dera and Ram Rahim's love would never be understood by an insect of drain like her. It talked about an instance where she showed disrespect to him and apologised to him.

"But the victim has specifically denied that she had never written such a letter to him. It is a fabricated one," said HPS Verma, counsel for the CBI.

Ram Rahim, through his counsel SK Garg, submitted that the letter was in her handwriting and she had signed it.

It is yet to be decided whether the handwriting sample of the victim would be sent for comparison with the letter that Ram Rahim had been flashing.

On April 17, 2010, the CBI special court, Haryana, had ordered the victim to submit her handwriting samples which could be matched with the alleged last letter to the dera chief. The victim's father then approached the Punjab and Haryana high court, which dismissed his appeal on February 13, 2013.

The case

In 2002, anonymous letters addressed to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were circulated alleging sexual exploitation of woman followers in Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa (Haryana).

The Punjab and Haryana high court then ordered the then Sirsa sessions judge to look into the matter. The judge had submitted his report on September 3, 2002, stating that the possibility of sexual exploitation could not be ruled out. On September 24, 2002, justice Adarsh Kumar Goel handed over the case to the CBI.

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