Journalist murder case: Ram Rahim to appear in court via video conferencing
The CBI court on Tuesday allowed the Haryana police application that cited law and order problems if Ram Rahim is brought to the court in person for hearingUpdated: Jan 08, 2019 22:57 IST
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will appear in the special CBI court in Panchkula through video-conferencing on January 11 --- the day when the verdict in the journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati murder case, in which he is the prime accused, is expected.
The CBI court on Tuesday allowed the Haryana police application that cited law and order problems if Ram Rahim is brought to the court in person for hearing. The state police said widespread violence after the dera chief’s conviction on August 25, 2017 for raping two sadhvis (woman disciples), had left 36 people dead in Panchkula. Ram Rahim is currently lodged in Rohtak’s Sunaira jail after he was sentenced to 20 years in jail.
“The CBI has no objection if the judgment is delivered securing presence of accused Gurmeet Ram Rahim on January 11 through video-conferencing and in the presence of his counsel,” the agency’s counsel said.
“The apprehension of the government regarding law and order situation can’t be ruled out in view of the previous happenings during pronouncement of judgment in a 2002 rape case against Ram Rahim,” he said.
Following arguments, the CBI court considered that it will not be violative of any substantive provision of law, if order/judgment is pronounced by securing presence of the accused through video-conferencing and in the presence of his counsel.
“The present application stands allowed in the larger interests and accordingly it is directed that the accused Ram Rahim be produced on January 11 through video-conferencing in order to receive judgment in the case,” ordered special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh.
Chhatrapati was shot at a point-blank range at his residence in Sirsa on October 24, 2002, months after his newspaper ‘Poora Sach’ published an anonymous letter alleging how women finding solace in the dera as sadhvis were sexually harassed and raped by Ram Rahim. Three weeks later, Chhatrapati succumbed to his injuries.
According to the CBI charge sheet, dera manager Krishan Lal had given his licenced revolver and a walkie-talkie of the dera to two shooters – Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh — in the presence of dera chief.
Ram Rahim is also to be tried in the castration case involving dera followers under the provision of law that can attract punishment up to life imprisonment.
The FIR in the castration case was registered following a Punjab and Haryana high court order in January 2015 on a plea alleging castration of 400 dera followers at the dera premises.
The CBI in its charge sheet had claimed that 128 of these allegedly castrated devotees were contacted and examined during the probe. Six of them became CBI’s main witnesses who deposed against the dera chief and revealed that they were castrated.
First Published: Jan 08, 2019 22:57 IST