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CBI questions Dera Sacha Sauda chief on ‘forced’ castration of 400 followers

Former Dera follower Hansraj Chauhan had claimed in a petition that he and 400 others were castrated by doctors at the Sirsa ashram on Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s command.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2017 18:51 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dera Sacha Sauda,Forced castration,Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has rejected all charges of forced castration levelled against him.(HT File)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has questioned Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in connection with a three-year-old case pertaining to the “forced” castration of around 400 followers at his Sirsa ashram.

A Haryana court had held the Dera chief guilty of raping two women disciples in August. He is currently serving a 20-year sentence at Rohtak prison.

“The CBI took the court’s permission to question the accused at Rohtak jail, where he has been lodged since his conviction in the rape cases. He was interrogated for over two hours on Tuesday,” said CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal.

The investigation agency began probing the charges of forced castration on a directive issued by the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2014. Former Dera follower Hansraj Chauhan had claimed in a petition that he and 400 others were castrated by doctors at the Sirsa ashram on Singh’s command. He said the spiritual leader allegedly told them that submitting to the scalpel would lead to a “spiritual realisation”.

Singh denied all the charges levelled against him.

Police had arrested two close aides of the Dera chief earlier this month, only to find that their testicles had been removed. The duo – Daan Singh and Rakesh Kumar – are accused of instigating violence among devotees in the aftermath of Singh’s conviction.

Two years ago, the CBI had recorded statements of two doctors for their alleged role in carrying out forced castrations. The Dera chief is currently facing trial for allegedly orchestrating the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh.

(With inputs from Vivek Gupta)

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 18:48 IST