Dera Sacha Sauda search: I-T team will have to wait till Monday for court orders

The Sirsa police filed their reply in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Vijay James on Saturday, following which the court decided on Monday for the final hearing.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2017 11:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Sirsa
Dera Sacha Sauda,Dera search,Ram Rahim
Ram Rahim is currently undergoing a 20-year imprisonment in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail.(File Photo)

Officials of the income tax (I-T) department will have to wait for two more days to conduct a search at the Dera Sacha Sauda premises as the final hearing on the application moved by the department will be heard on Monday at a local court in Sirsa.

The Sirsa police filed their reply in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Vijay James on Saturday, following which the court decided on Monday for the final hearing.

The team of the I-T department’s investigation wing, led by assistant director Data Ram, had moved an application at the CJM court in Sirsa for conducting a search at the premises to access the dera records, which were sealed by the Sirsa police during the three-day sanitisation exercise last month.

The exercise was carried out in the wake of conviction of dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in two rape cases. Ram Rahim is currently undergoing a 20-year imprisonment in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail. The team had reached Sirsa on October 18 to conduct the search as per the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court.

Assistant director Data Ram has refused to comment over the matter. Ashish Singla, standing counsel for the I-T Department in Sirsa, said, “As the I-T team wanted to investigate further, and the Sirsa police could not share the data without court permission since the entire operation had been conducted under the supervision of a court commissioner AKS Pawar, appointed by the high court. The Sirsa police filed their reply before the court on Saturday, and the court was adjourned till Monday.”

The high court directed the Enforcement Directorate and I-T Department to probe allegations of money laundering against the Dera. Notably, following the conviction of Ram Rahim on August 25, Dera followers had gone on a rampage, damaging and setting on fire public and private properties in Panchkula, Sirsa and some others parts of Haryana and Punjab. During the sanitisation of the Dera premises from September 8 to 10, the security forces had unearthed an illegal firecracker factory and found a cache of crackers and an empty box of AK-47 rifle cartridges.

Police, paramilitary and civil administration officials were involved in the search carried out on the direction of the high court. The process, overseen by retired district and sessions judge AKS Pawar, was videographed.

First Published: Oct 22, 2017 11:00 IST