Ram Rahim sentencing | Fall from grace: From revered godman to prisoner
“Mujhe maaf kardo (Forgive me),” the self-styled godman is said to have pleaded before dropping to the floor and refusing to leave the court.punjab Updated: Aug 28, 2017 22:15 IST
Life came full circle for Sirsa dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Monday afternoon.
Police sources said the 50-year-old flamboyant and controversial sect leader with lakhs of followers begged for mercy before CBI judge Jagdeep Singh as he was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping sadhvis (women followers) in a trial that dragged on for 15 years.
The sources in the makeshift courtroom of the high-security Sunaria jail on the outskirts of Rohtak said that the dera chief broke down before the judge as the sentence was pronounced.
“Mujhe maaf kardo (Forgive me),” the self-styled godman is said to have pleaded before dropping to the floor and refusing to leave the court. The sources said he begged for a lesser sentence and refused to leave the court.
It took the judge less than an hour to pronounce the sentence in a special courtroom set up on the Punjab and Haryana high court’s direction after Friday’s violence unleashed by his followers in Panchkula, where the special CBI court is located.
The judge was brought to Rohtak by a chopper from Chandigarh and landed at a helipad near the jail. The proceedings began around 2.30pm.
The judge allotted 10 minutes to both sides to put forth their arguments. The prosecution reportedly demanded maximum punishment for the rape convict, while the defence argued that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was a social worker so a lenient view should be taken.
The sources said that Gurmeet Ram Rahim was medically examined again after which he will be given a jail uniform and will be allotted a cell in the prison, where he has been lodged since Friday after he was convicted of rape by the special CBI court. The verdict triggered violence, leaving 38 dead and scores injured in Panchkula and Sirsa.
On Tuesday, he will be give prisoner (qaidi ) number.
A multi-layer security cordon manned by police and 23 companies of paramilitary forces was thrown in and around Rohtak and also near the jail. The army was kept on standby, while all routes to the jail were sealed.
Even as the judge was pronouncing the sentence, two cars were torched by dera supporters in the Phoolka area of Sirsa district. Haryana and Punjab remained on high alert with officials warning that violent miscreants will be shot at sight.
First Published: Aug 28, 2017 18:12 IST