Dera castration case: CBI court allows withholding victims’ identities during trial
The judge said in his Saturday’s orders that all the victims linked to this case will be referred as numbers or alphabets.Updated: May 07, 2018 14:19 IST
Giving them the status of victims of sexual offences, the CBI court of Kapil Rathi allowed withholding the identities of castrated sadhus in connection with forced castration case involving rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim as prime accused and his two doctors.
The judge said in his Saturday’s orders that all the victims linked to this case will be referred as numbers or alphabets.
The decision comes nearly a month after a castrated sadhu, who is among prime witnesses in this case, moved an application pleading to keep the identities of all victims named in this case a ‘complete secret’ due to fear of public embarrassment and constant threat to their lives.
Ruling in their favour, the judge placed his reliance on a Supreme Court judgement in a case titled as State of Karnataka Vs Puttaraja.
Quoting it, he stated that keeping in view the social object of preventing social victimisation or ostracism of the victim of a sexual offence, it will be appropriate that the name of the victim should not be indicated in court orders.
How many sadhus are linked?
As per the chargesheet filed by the central bureau of investigation (CBI) on February 1 in this case, a dera follower-turned-complainant had submitted a list containing names of 166 dera followers who were allegedly castrated at the behest of Ram Rahim at different dera properties, including main headquarters in Sirsa in early 2000.
The CBI claimed that 128 of these allegedly castrated devotees were contacted and examined during the probe.
Six of them became CBI’s main witness who deposed against the dera chief and revealed that they were castrated at his behest by Dr MP Singh and Dr Pankaj Garg.
The CBI added that the dera chief adopted these tactics to pressurise the young and poor devotees to acquiesce to his unethical demands.
Currently, the matter is underway for framing of charges and is listed for hearing on May 15.
The CBI charged dera chief and his aides for criminal conspiracy (Indian Penal Code’s Section 120-B), voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means (Section 326), besides cheating by personation (Section 416) and criminal intimidation (Section 506).
Meanwhile, CBI court allowed one of the accused, Dr MP Singh, to undergo a heart surgery at a private hospital in New Delhi. It also directed the superintendent of Ambala’s central jail to ensure adequate security arrangements during his treatment.