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CBI court verdict in rape case against dera chief Ram Rahim on August 25

The sect chief has been accused by a former female follower of raping her more than once inside the sprawling dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town in Haryana.

punjab Updated: Aug 17, 2017 23:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim,Dera Sacha Sauda,Punjab
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh(HT File Photo)

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Panchkula will pronounce its verdict in an alleged rape case against Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on August 25.

After hearing final arguments in the 15-year-old case, special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh reserved orders for August 25 and asked the dera chief, who was earlier questioned through videoconferencing due to security reasons, to remain present in the court at 2.30pm on the said date.

Meanwhile, Punjab and Haryana have sounded alert fearing volatile law and order situation if the verdict goes against the dera head. Governments of both the states have sought central forces from the Union home ministry. While the Panchkula, Mohali and Chandigarh police have cancelled leaves of the staff, the Haryana government has sought 150 companies of paramilitary forces. “The leaves of police personnel has also been cancelled,” said Haryana DGP BS Sandhu, adding that foolproof security arrangements had been made to maintain law and order.

THE CASE SO FAR
  • April 2002: An anonymous complaint of a woman follower alleging sexual exploitation by Dera Sacha Sauda chief reaches Punjab and Haryana high court
  • May 2002: HC directs Sirsa district and sessions judge to conduct an inquiry
  • September 2002: HC hands over the case to the CBI when the district and sessions judge report indicates possibility of sexual exploitation
  • December 2002: CBI books dera chief under sections of rape, criminal intimidation and acts intended to insult modesty of a woman
  • July 2007: Chargesheet filed against dera head
  • August 2008: Trial starts after framing of charges
  • August 17 2017: Arguments closed and August 25 fixed for pronouncement of orders.

On Thursday, thousands of dera followers gathered at the Sirsa district courts from where Ram Rahim was to appear before the CBI court through videoconferencing. The dera chief, who enjoys a Z-plus security cover, however, did appear.

The trial in the case began in 2008, nearly six years after CBI booked the dera chief in December 2002 for allegedly raping two female followers. In its chargesheet, the CBI claimed to have come across more victims allegedly raped by the dera chief but the agency could trace only two who gave their statement during the trial.

The dera chief’s counsel continued to question the testimonies of the victims. On Thursday, he again reiterated that the CBI case against his client was baseless. “In the initial statement recorded by the CBI, the two victims never spoke about being raped by the dera chief. We have produced many testimonies during the trial to justify this,” the counsel said.

CBI special counsel HPS Verma, however, said the agency had produced all legal evidences to nail the dera chief.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 18:27 IST