Dera chief gets life term in Ranjit Singh murder case

CBI court convicted Ram Rahim of plotting the murder of his former follower, who was shot dead by four assailants on July 10, 2002, at his native Khanpur Kolian village in Kurukshetra
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim is among five people convicted of the murder of former manager Ranjit Singh, who was shot dead on July 10, 2002. (HT file photo)
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim is among five people convicted of the murder of former manager Ranjit Singh, who was shot dead on July 10, 2002. (HT file photo)
Updated on Oct 18, 2021 05:40 PM IST
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ByHT Correspondent

A special CBI court in Panchkula on Monday awarded life sentence to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and four others, who were convicted in the murder of former dera manager Ranjit Singh in 2002.

The four others convicted in the case are Jasbir Singh, a follower; Krishan Lal, a dera manager; Sabdil, gunman of the dera head; and Avtar Singh, a dera functionary.

“All five convicts, including Ram Rahim, have been awarded life sentence,” CBI special public prosecutor HPS Verma said.

CBI sought death penalty; Ram Rahim pleaded for mercy

Ranjit Singh, a former follower of Ram Rahim, was shot dead by four assailants on July 10, 2002, at his native Khanpur Kolian village in Kurukshetra.

“We are satisfied (with the punishment). It has been a long battle for my family. We have lived in fear all these years but have fought to get justice,” Jagseer Singh, the son of Ranjit Singh, said after Monday’s verdict.

The CBI had sought death sentence for Ram Rahim, who in turn pleaded for mercy. The special CBI court convicted the dera head and four others on October 8.

Murdered for revealing sexual abuse at dera

According to the CBI, Ranjit Singh was murdered as Ram Rahim suspected that he was behind the circulation of an anonymous letter that revealed the sexual exploitation of woman followers at the dera.

In June 2002, Ranjit Singh was summoned to the dera and threatened with dire consequences, but he refused to seek pardon, saying he had done nothing wrong. The dera head is serving a 20-year jail term for raping two followers and has been sentenced to life for the murder of a journalist in 2002.

Ram Rahim appeared through video-conferencing from Sunaria jail of Rohtak, while the four others were present in the court at the time of the sentencing.

The hearing was conducted amid tight security at the Panchkula district court complex. Prohibitory orders were in place against the assembly of five and more people in Panchkula district.

Three major cases against dera chief

There were mainly three cases against the Sirsa-based dera chief instituted in 2002-03. All were investigated by the CBI. The dera chief already stands convicted in two cases, one related to sexual exploitation of women disciples and the second of the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. The third case was of Ranjit Singh’s murder. The first conviction was in a sexual exploitation case in August 2017, which had resulted in widespread violence in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Thirty-six people were killed in Panchkula alone in the violence reported after his conviction on conviction on August 25, 2017.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021