The three-day sanitisation campaign at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa concluded on Sunday as the Court Commissioner AKS Pawar will now submit his report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court detailing the findings. Confirming the conclusion of the search operation, Deputy Director of Haryana PR Department, Satish Mehra said SMS, internet and railway services will resume in Sirsa from Monday which had been temporarily shut down as a precautionary measure to control any form of violence in the region.
While railway services will be resumed from Monday, the decision is yet to be made on the removal of curfew in the area. Mehra said, “Curfew will remain imposed till tomorrow, it will be reviewed tomorrow evening. Relaxations will be given in morning & evening.”
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The dera sanitisation was carried out amid heavy security deployment in the area with columns of army and paramilitary called in to assist state police. On the first two days of the search operation, officials had major breakthrough as they unearthed secret tunnels connecting the ‘dera niwas’ to ‘sadhvi niwas’ within the premise, another fibre glass tunnel detected by the security forces opened some five kilometre away from the Dera head’s private residence, possibly an escape route if situation turned hostile for Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment following his conviction in two rape cases.
Mehra said that a health department team searched a hospital running inside the Dera and sealed a skin bank which was allegedly “running without licence. Also, it was found that no record of the dead bodies being sent out of the hospital had been maintained.” He also added that a health department team detected irregularities in the implementation of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act by the Dera as well.
Officials also found an illegal firecrackers and explosives factory within the 700-acre sprawling complex which has been sealed besides registering a case under the Explosives Act. Adding to the shocking discoveries about the lavish lifestyle of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, police and paramilitary officials found a luxury vehicle estimated at Rs 1 crore from inside the complex. They also discovered fake plastic tokens, passed on as a parallel currency, being used in and around the premise. Around 1,500 pairs of shoes and numerous designer apparel have also been seized in addition to demonetised currency worth Rs 7,000.
Officials also disclosed that an empty box for cartridges of AK-47 was recovered during the search operation.
Police also located the so-called “gufa”, where Dera chief Ram Rahim stayed. “There was a pathway connecting the girls’ hostel to this building. This pathway has now been blocked,” an administrative officer said. On day one of the search operation that lasted for nearly 10 hours, unlabeled Ayurvedic medicines and an OB van were also found apart from the Lexus car without number plates.
Officials also found five boys in a residential colony inside the complex. Two of these boys were minors. One of them, 7, is from Kaithal town of Haryana, while another, 12, is from a locality in Sirsa town. The sprawling Dera complex here includes a township with schools, a sports village, a hospital, a shopping mall and a cinema hall. The property also houses ostentatious ‘7-star MSG resort’ with replicas of Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Kremlin and Disney World.
Haryana police on Sunday arrested Govind, a member of the state body of the dera for allegedly inciting violence on August 25 in Panchkula after sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted.
The search operation was being carried out on the direction of Punjab and Haryana High Court in the wake of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction and the subsequent violence by his supporters which left 38 people dead. One of the prime motives behind the search operation is also to estimate the total worth of Dera assets across the state of Haryana. While the Haryana government is still calculating it, preliminary assessments project the net worth of assets across Haryana to be at least Rs 1,100 crore. Punjab government estimates Dera’s assets in the state to be worth Rs 53 crore. Meanwhile, efforts continued to trace the dera chief’s adopted daughter Honeypreet Insan, against whom a lookout notice was issued earlier.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)