On Tuesday, a special CBI court in Panchkula in Haryana deferred the issuance of the sentence for Gurmeet Ram Rahim Sing (self-declared godman) and Gurmeet Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Singh. Four others were convicted in a 19 year-old murder case.
This week, Dera Sacha Sauda’s chief was convicted in a third criminal case, which relates to his 2002 plot to murder Ranjit Singh, his former manager.
For raping his two friends, he was serving a 20-year sentence in the Sunaria prison in Rohtak (250 km from Chandigarh). He was also sentenced to life in 2002 for the murder of a journalist.
Ram Rahim (52 years old) attended the hearing that lasted for a day and was subject to the virtual pronouncement of the sentence. He appealed for mercy, citing the charitable works the sect had done while he was in the chair.
Ranjit Singh was a former Ram Rahim follower and was gunned down by four assailants at Khanpur Kolian village, Kurukshetra, on July 10, 2002.
H.P.S. CBI counsel Verma informed the media that both defense and prosecution counsel had concluded their arguments.
“The case was adjourned to the next hearing on plea of the convicts, that they need time for replies,” he stated. The court also listed the matter for its next hearing on October 18.
Ram Rahim was sentenced to death by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Ram Rahim was convicted by the special CBI court along with four other defendants on October 8, in the case of murder.
CBI pleaded that Ranjit Singh had been murdered because Ram Rahim suspects that he was behind the distribution of an anonymous letter revealing the sexual exploitation at the dera of women followers.
His conviction for raping his two friends on August 25, 2017 led to violence in Sirsa and Panchkula, which left 41 people dead and more than 260 others injured.
Because of his ability to influence votes, Ram Rahim was supported by political leaders in Punjab and Haryana for almost two decades.