Weeks after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of raping two women in 1999 by a special CBI court, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief is now caught up in another trial by the same court in connection with two separate murder cases. These are the key details regarding the recent trial of the self-styled godman and rape convict, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
1. Hearing in connection with the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh by followers and functionaries of Dera Sacha Sauda is being held in the court of CBI judge Jagdeep Singh in Panchkula.
2. The murders were allegedly carried out on the orders of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief.
3. In August, the self-styled godman was convicted of raping two women, and sentenced to 20-year imprisonment by the same CBI court.
4. Ahead of the hearing, security has been tightened in Panchkula, to avoid repetition of the violence that broke out in the town and other nearby cities, including Delhi, after the verdict was announced against Ram Rahim in August rape case.
5. Khatta Singh, a witness in one of the murder cases against Gurmeet, agreed to appear before the court. He recorded his statement in 2007, which he changed in 2012 out of fear. The court will decide on September 22 if his statement will be taken.
6. Panchkula DCP Manbir Singh has informed that five companies of paramilitary forces and district forces of the state have been deployed.
7. Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati was shot in October, 2002 after evening newspaper ‘Poora Sach’ published an anonymous letter by a woman alleging sexual exploitation by Ram Rahim at the Dera headquarters. He died later.
8. Former Dera manager Ranjit Singh was allegedly shot dead in 2002 for having a suspected hand in circulation of the anonymous letter published in ‘Poora Sach’.
9. Since the Dera Chief is completing his sentence in Rohtak’s Sunaria Jail, he is attending the hearing via video call.
10. The Dera chief has also been accused of forcefully getting 400 followers castrated in the name of devotion.