Dera chief set for grilling in murder case, faces 449 questions

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Panchkula
  • Updated: Nov 01, 2014 21:17 IST

As the prosecution evidence has been closed in the Ranjit Singh murder case, the court will record the statement of accused Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Dera Sacha Sauda chief, where he faces 449 questions regarding evidence against him.

On Saturday, CBI counsel HPS Verma submitted the list of questions as per the orders of the CBI special court, Haryana. The court handed over the list to Ram Rahim's counsel SK Garg.

The dera chief would record his statement through video conferencing on November 15.

Ranjit Singh was murdered on July 10, 2002, allegedly by dera followers in Kurukshetra. The CBI alleges that Ranjit was killed as Ram Rahim suspected him to be behind an anonymous letter of a sadhvi (female follower) who levelled allegations of sexual exploitation against him.

Other than Ram Rahim, Sabdil, Jasbir, Krishan Lal, Indersen and Avtaar are accused in the case. The letter of the sadhvi was addressed to the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Ranjit Singh was shot in the head when he was returning after handing over tea to his father in the fields.

"The 449 questions to the dera chief will range from sexual exploitation of sadhvis, for which he was facing a separate case, threat to the victim from the dera and later his murder and the deposition of Khatta Singh," said CBI counsel HPS Verma.

Khatta Singh, a former driver of Ram Rahim, had turned hostile in the case. Though, in his statement, recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC (statement before a magistrate) earlier, he had stated that Ram Rahim had threatened Ranjit in his presence, warning him of dire consequences and had also later ordered to kill him.

According to the CBI counsel, Khatta had also stated earlier that when Ranjit came to know that his sister was sexually exploited at the dera, he withdrew her and his two daughters from the dera and stopped going there himself.

Ram Rahim would also be questioned on the duties of sadhvis at one of the gates of his gufa. Besides the Ranjit Singh murder case, the dera chief has been facing a rape case and is also accused in the Ram Chander Chhatrapati murder case.

Bailable warrants issued against 3 witnesses

Bailable warrants were issued against three defence witnesses in the rape case against dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for not appearing in the court on Saturday. Also, CBI judge RK Yadav commented regarding absence of two other defence witnesses (Kaushalya Devi and his son Diwan Sethi), " …the names of these two witnesses have been mentioned in the list of defence witnesses just to delay the proceedings. Therefore, no court assistance can be given to the defence counsel to call these witnesses.

However, if defence is interested in examining these witnesses, they have to bring these two witnesses on their own on next date of hearing…" Kaushalya Devi is bed-ridden and her son Sethi lives abroad.

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