A special CBI court on Wednesday allowed authorities in Haryana to produce convicted Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and three others before it through video-conferencing for their sentencing in the murder case of a journalist. The quantum of punishment to Ram Rahim and the three others, who were convicted by the special CBI court in Panchkula town in Haryana on Jan 11, will be pronounced by the court on Jan 17.
The court had held Ram Rahim and his three close aides guilty of conspiracy to murder journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. Krishan Lal, a former manager of the sect, Kuldeep and Nirmal, who were both carpenters and followers of the sect, who were convicted with Ram Rahim, has been lodged in the Ambala jail. The sentencing will be announced by the Central Bureau of Investigation court judge Jagdeep Singh in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh.
Chhatrapati, who edited a newspaper in Sirsa, was shot five times on October 24, 2002, in Sirsa town in Haryana. He died on November 21 in a hospital in New Delhi after battling for life.
Ram Rahim had appeared before the court on Jan 11 through video conferencing from the Sunaria prison near Rohtak in view of security concerns raised by the Haryana Police and the government. The same CBI judge had convicted the sect chief on two counts of rape on August 25, 2017, and sentenced him to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.
Chhatrapati's son Anshul has demanded capital punishment for the disgraced self-styled godman. Security forces in Haryana and Punjab have been on alert since Jan 10 in view of the case judgment against Ram Rahim. Security was beefed up in Rohtak and Sirsa towns in Haryana and some parts of Punjab. Security was increased around the sect's headquarters campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town, around 260 km from here. Sect followers were not allowed to gather in big numbers. Ram Rahim's conviction had led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 41 people dead and over 260 injured, on August 25, 2017.
(With inputs from agencies.)