Haryana: HC acquits Dera Sacha Sauda chief of ex-manager Ranjit Singh’s murder - Hindustan Times
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Haryana: HC acquits Dera Sacha Sauda chief of ex-manager Ranjit Singh’s murder

May 28, 2024 12:09 PM IST

Though acquitted in the 2002 case, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh won’t come out of Rohtak jail as he is convicted in two rape cases and the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday acquitted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of the murder of former dera manager Ranjit Singh in 2002.

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday acquitted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (in pic) of the murder of former dera manager Ranjit Singh in 2002. (HT file photo)
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday acquitted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (in pic) of the murder of former dera manager Ranjit Singh in 2002. (HT file photo)

Ram Rahim was convicted in 2021 by the special CBI court in Panchkula and was awarded life term for 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 district of Haryana.

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The judgment was pronounced in the open court by the bench of justice Sureshwar Thakur and Lalit Batra on Tuesday morning. The detailed order is awaited.

“Ram Rahim has been acquitted,” a lawyer associated with the case, Gautam Dutt, said.

Though acquitted, Ram Rahim won’t come out of jail as he is convicted in two rape cases and another murder case.

At present, he is lodged at Sunaria jail in Rohtak.

The CBI had claimed that 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 CBI said.

In the appeal filed before the high court in December 2021, Ram Rahim had argued that trial court erred in not considering the inconsistencies and contradiction in the story of the prosecution for which the benefit of doubt ought to have been extended. The testimonies of prosecution witnesses have significant contradictions with each other, it claimed, adding the prosecution had failed to establish facts beyond “reasonable doubts” by which motive was sought to be attributed to Ram Rahim.

The dera chief, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for raping two disciples in 2002, has also been convicted in one more murder case of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, who had reported the wrongdoings inside the dera and was allegedly killed by dera followers in 2001. Ram Rahim was sentenced to life in this case.

Punjab Police have also termed him as one of the key conspirators of the 2015 sacrilege cases reported in the state.

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

Of late, the dera head has been in news for frequent paroles granted to him by the Haryana government.

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