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Jailed Dera chief Ram Rahim stares at more troubles as murder plot trials near end

The flamboyant self-styled guru faces charges of murder conspiracy and castration of his disciples.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2017 08:05 IST
Surender Sharma
Surender Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Dera chief,Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh,Dera Sacha Sauda
Three more cases, including two pertaining to murder conspiracy, are pending against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (AFP File Photo )

Two 10-year prison terms given to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by a special CBI court on Monday in a rape case could just be the beginning of a trail of troubles for the self-styled godman.

There are three more cases pending against the 50-year-old head of the quasi-religious sect. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating the three cases. Two of the cases pertain to conspiring murders, while the third is over alleged castration of 400 Dera followers at the sect’s headquarters in Haryana’s Sirsa.

In the two murder cases, which are in the final stages of trial before a special CBI court in Panchkula, Singh could be awarded life sentence. The castration case is still under investigation.

The flamboyant guru, who starred in pop videos and his own “Messenger of God” movie franchise, is accused of plotting the killing of a Sirsa-based journalist and one of his followers for trying to expose his “wrongdoings” and “sexual exploitations.”

Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, editor of a Hindi evening newspaper Poora Sach, was killed in July 2002 for publishing stories on unlawful activities inside Dera premises, including rape allegations.

The Dera chief, who is reverently referred to as “Baba” by his legions of followers, is also linked to the murder of one of his disgruntled devotees Ranjit Singh.

The Punjab and Haryana high court ordered the CBI probe into both the cases.

“Arguments are in final stages in both the cases and trial could be over by year end,” a lawyer associated with the cases said.

The CBI started investigation into the castration case at the behest of the high court in 2014 after Haryana police, who were initially investigating the case, drew the court’s ire for “shoddy probe”.

The investigation is still on and the CBI is submitting its status reports before the high court.

The investigation into the case started after a Fatehabad resident, Hansraj, accused Dera had of castrating the followers, including him, promising that it would lead to “realisation of god”.

The matter had reached court in 2012.

First Published: Aug 28, 2017 22:05 IST