Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been in prison since August 2017 and technically has served the minimum sentence of one year to become eligible for parole. Under the Act, he does not fall under the category of hardcore prisoner who becomes entitled for temporary release only after completion of five years imprisonment.
In August of 2017, the Dera chief was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two women. A special CBI court in Panchkula had in January this year also sentenced him and three others to life imprisonment for the murder of a journalist over 16 years ago.
Thousands of followers, who call themselves ‘premis’ and address dera chief as ‘pitaji’, gathered at the dera’s Naam Charcha Ghar (prayer hall) at village Gahaur of Ludhiana Sunday where members of the political wing addressed them. They were told to “stay united” and “not let outsiders break their unity”.
Asked about the Income Tax department's classification of the organisations linked to the Dera as "private", former chief information commissioner A N Tiwari said the tax exemption had been given by the government.
Khatta, in the affidavit, has also said that Gurmeet was very angry with the slain journalist, Chattarpati, after he had published a report on October 23, 2002, about the sexual exploitation of women disciples at the Dera.
Naresh, Puneet and Ashok were nabbed following the August 25 violence after the Dera Sach Sauda chief was convicted by a special CBI court in Panchkula that day. Tight security arrangements were made to bring them to court, police said on Wednesday.
While some supporters insist that there cannot be a bloodline successor to the 'seat' of the Dera, but, unconfirmed reports have started emanating from the headquarters in Sirsa that his son, Jasmeet Insaan, will be appointed as successor.
Haryana Home Secretary Ram Niwas said “it is a fact” that the DC, who had magisterial powers to direct police officials to open fire, “fled the scene but she blames the police officials who faced the mob despite getting injured and drove them out of Panchkula within two hours”.