FINAL ARGUMENTS in two murder cases allegedly involving Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh commenced in a special CBI court here Sunday. Ram Rahim is lodged in Sunaria jail of Rohtak after he was convicted of rape and criminal intimidation by the same CBI court on August 25. The seven-hour-long arguments commenced around 10 am in the heavily-guarded CBI court of Special CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh. The Dera chief took part in the court proceedings from Sunaria jail through video-conferencing.
The prosecution began elaborating its argument in Ranjit Singh murder case around 10 am. It continued till 4.30 pm. During the proceedings, the dera chief also sought a 15-minute break citing back ache. This was allowed by the court. The prosecution will now continue its argument on the next date of hearing on September 18. Ranjit was gunned down by four assailants allegedly on the behest of Dera chief near his native village in Kurukshetra on July 10, 2012. The Dera chief is termed as the ‘prime conspirator’ in the case.
The other case, pertaining to the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chattarpati, was listed for September 22 after the Dera chief’s former driver Khatta Singh, appeared in the court and filed an application to record fresh statement against the dera chief. Khatta, a witness in the murder cases, had retracted his earlier statements in 2012. “He had turned hostile as he was under pressure fromRam Rahim and his goons,” Khatta Singh’s counsel Navkiran Singh, who accompanied him to the court, told mediapersons here.
Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after a newspaper owned by him, ‘Poora Sach’, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters. He succumbed to injuries later. The Dera chief was allowed to take part in the court proceedings through video-conferencing after Panchkula’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Manbir Singh filed an application in the court saying that they could not bring the Dera chief in person to the court as it could lead to to law and order problems.
Several contingents of paramilitary troops and the Haryana Police remain deployed in and around the Panchkula CBI court. The security arrangements shall continue to remain in force till the hearing in both the murder cases against dera chief concludes in the CBI court in Panchkula. All the other accused involved in the assassination of Ranjit Singh and journalist Chhatarpati were presented inside the special court of CBI when the prosecution started reading the statements of witnesses.
After the court’s hearing concluded for the day, Dera chief’s counsel S K Garg Narwana, said, “Arguments in both the murder cases against Dera head will be heard separately.”CBI counsel, HPS Verma said, “The court issued a notice to CBI on the application of Khatta Singh for September 22. We will file our reply on that day. The arguments in the case of Ranjit Singh shall continue on September 18. It is a lengthy process and it will take a couple of days to complete final arguments in both the cases.”