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CBI favours Khatta Singh’s plea to depose against jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim

Defence calls intention of Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s former driver ‘mala fide’; court reserves its order for Monday.

punjab Updated: Sep 23, 2017 12:49 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Panchkula
Khatta Singh,Dera Sacha Sauda,dera chief
Gurmeet Ram Rahim is currently serving a 20-year jail sentence after being convicted of raping two sadhvis.(File Photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday favoured Khatta Singh’s plea to depose against Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the ongoing murder trial against him, even as the defence opposed his application on ground that his testimony is not reliable.

After hearing both the sides, special CBI court here reserved the judgment on this matter for Monday.

KHATTA’S CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS
  • 2007: Ranjit Singh left the dera with his sister after he got to know that Gurmeet Ram Rahim had raped his sister
  • 2012: Ranjit Singh never left the dera and was regular till the time of his murder. I had no knowledge of his sister living in the dera

Khatta Singh, who was former driver of the dera chief, now serving 20-year sentence after his conviction for raping two sadhvis, had earlier turned out to be CBI’s important witness after Ram Rahim and his men were booked for allegedly killing dera follower Ranjit Singh and journalist Ram Chandra Chattrapati in 2002. The trial in the two cases is at its final leg.

He told the investigating agency in 2007 how he was privy to a meeting between the dera chief and his five men before Ranjit Singh was murdered in his village in Kurukshetra district on July 10, 2002. He had also claimed to have heard Ram Rahim telling his men to eliminate Chhatrapati, editor of Sirsa-based newspaper as he was continuously exposing dera’s nefarious activities.

However, he had turned hostile during his testimony before the CBI court in February 2012, denying any knowledge of the dera chief’s involvement in these cases.

He even levelled serious allegations against the CBI telling the court that that the then investigation officer had forced him to make these statements in order to frame him in these cases.

CHANGING VERSION NOW

Khatta has completely changed his version after the dera chief was convicted in the rape case on August 25. Khatta told the special court on Friday that he changed his testimony due to threat from “baba and his goons” and not the CBI. The CBI counsel then adopted his plea and told the court that it had no problem with his testimony against the dera chief and the other accused. However, the defence counsel put up a strong objection. Dera chief’s counsel SK Garg Nirwana told the court that his application is mala fide and has been moved at this stage to delay the decision in this case.

Bankim Kulshreshtha, counsel of another accused Krishan Lal, argued that if Khatta’s life was really in danger then why he did not report the matter to the local police or the premier investigating agency. In fact, he filed a police complaint against the CBI for falsely recording his statement and even moved the court in this regard.

Meanwhile, the closing arguments in the Ranjit Singh murder case will continue on Monday. The arguments in the Chattrapati murder case have been deferred to October 26.

Meanwhile, the court is yet to decide the pleas moved by three accused seeking further investigation in these cases last week.

First Published: Sep 23, 2017 12:47 IST