The Punjab and Haryana High Court Friday dismissed a petition seeking transfer of the trial in a murder case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and others from the Special CBI Judge in Panchkula to any other court. The trial in the case of murder of former Dera manager Ranjit Singh in 2002 is at a final stage before the Panchkula Court.
One of the accused Krishan Lal, in an appeal, had challenged the trial court’s refusal to recuse or transfer the case. The case is currently being heard by Additional Sessions Judge Jagdeep Singh and the accused contended he had already convicted the Dera chief and others in two other cases based on similar evidence and was likely to hold the same view in the Ranjit Singh murder case. The petition before the HC contended that the entire case of the CBI is mainly based on the testimony of a witness Khatta Singh and the judge in the previous verdict in a murder case against Ram Rahim had heavily relied upon his statement.
Dismissing the petition, Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill said, “The apprehension is rather misconceived…as the trial court while finally deciding the case… would be appreciating all such evidence which is led during the course of present trial in order to reach at an independent finding as to whether the charges framed against the accused are established or not.”
The order further said that there was no such concept in criminal jurispruduce that if an accused is found guilty in one case, he would be held to be guilty in other identical case. “Each case has to be established by prosecution by leading evidence independently,” reads the order, adding there is also nothing on record to show the trial judge is prejudiced in any manner against the accused.
However, the single bench in the order also has added that the while deciding the present case, the trial court shall decide the same independently without being influenced by any finding recorded in previous judgment.
Meanwhile, the trial court also heard the arguments in the matter Friday and posted the case for further hearing on January 13. The defence evidence of all accused has already been closed in the matter on December 14 and the CBI is currently submitting final arguments in the matter.
Ranjit Singh, a former Dera manager, was murdered in 2002. Besides Ram Rahim, the accused included Avtar Singh, Inder Sain, Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh and Sabdil Singh. Ram Rahim is already serving a 20-year imprisonment in a rape case and a life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatarpati. At present, he is facing trial in the Ranjit Singh murder case and the case pertaining to alleged castration of a number of Dera followers.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines