The defence arguments couldn’t start in rape trial against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Saturday as the CBI special court took up his application for deciding the Ranjit Singh murder case against him along with the sexual assault case.
The court issued notice to the CBI for reply by July 11.
It is the oldest running rape trial of Panchkula district courts.
On Friday, the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea of dera chief seeking more handwriting samples of an alleged rape victim in the case.
Ram Rahim had submitted before the court in an application through his counsel SK Garg Narwana that a number of witnesses were common in Ranjit Singh murder and sexual assault cases. He added that even investigating officer (Satish Dagar) in both the cases is the same.
He prayed that the “propriety, justice, judicial discipline and the principals of fair trial demand” that both these cases must be heard and decided simultaneously, as from the “bare reading of the chargesheet of both the cases it is evident that these cases are interwoven”.
He added 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”.
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. The high court had then ordered then Sirsa district and sessions judge to look into the matter. In his report, the sessions judge had stated that the possibility of sexual exploitation could not be ruled out.
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 has been alleging 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.