CBI court reserves order on Dera chief’s sentencing in 2002 murder case

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A special CBI court in Panchkula on Tuesday reserved its order on the sentencing of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a 2002 murder case. The self-styled godman was last Friday convicted of conspiring the murder of his former manager Ranjit Singh in 2002.

The court set October 18 as the next date of hearing on the quantum of the sentence. Along with Gurmeet Ram Rahim, four other people were also convicted in the murder case.

The special CBI court began hearing in the case to pronounce the quantum of sentence earlier in the day amid tight security. The authorities imposed prohibitory orders in the vicinity of the court anticipating violence by the followers of the convicted godman. As many as 36 people were killed in Panchkula in August 2017 after a local court convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case. This time, the self-styled godman appeared through video-conferencing from Sunaria jail in Rohtak.

A former follower of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Ranjit Singh was shot dead by four assailants on July 10, 2002, at his native village in Kurukshetra’s Khanpur Kolian.

The Central Bureau of Investigation officials in their chargesheet said Ranjit Singh was murdered as Ram Rahim suspected that he was behind the circulation of an anonymous letter highlighting the sexual exploitation of female disciples on the Dera premises.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim is already serving a 20-year jail term for raping two followers and has been sentenced to life for the murder of a journalist in 2002.

According to a report published in Hindustan Times, at least three cases were lodged against Gurmeet Ram Rahim between 2002 and 2003. While the first case pertains to the sexual exploitation of women disciples, the second involved murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. The third, the latest in which Gurmeet Ram Rahim was convicted last week, is related to the murder of his disciple Ranjit Singh.

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