Dera chief Ram Rahim, 4 others awarded life sentence in 2002 murder case

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
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and four others were awarded life sentence in the 2002 murder of dera manager Ranjit Singh. (HT file photo)
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and four others were awarded life sentence in the 2002 murder of dera manager Ranjit Singh. (HT file photo)
Published on Oct 18, 2021 11:54 PM IST
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Panchkula: A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation in Panchkula on Monday awarded life sentence to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and four others convicted in the murder of former dera manager Ranjit Singh in 2002.

The four others 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. The federal investigative agency had sought the death penalty. Ram Rahim had pleaded for mercy. The court had convicted the dera head and four others on October 8.

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, son of Ranjit Singh, said after Monday’s verdict.

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

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 chief is already 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 in 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.

There were mainly three cases against the Sirsa-based dera chief since 2002. All were investigated by the CBI.

The dera chief has been convicted in two cases, one related to sexual exploitation of women disciples and the other of the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. The third case was 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 August 25.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021