Amid reports that Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, currently serving sentences in rape and murder cases in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail, was “secretly” granted parole for a day last month, Haryana Jail Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala Saturday said the matter was in his knowledge but “it was not the information, which needed to be shared”.
The minister also justified the move saying the day-long parole on October 24 was granted as per the law to let the Dera chief visit a Gurgaon hospital where his ailing mother was admitted.
“He (Gurmeet) had gone to meet his hospitalised mother. There is a legal provision for a bail (parole) that if there is any emergency to anybody then the prisoner concerned can be taken (for the purpose). He had gone (to the hospital) in police custody… You have asked about Baba ji. There are many others who go from the jails (on parole). How can we change that law (meant for parole)?” the jail minister asked while taking media queries in Sirsa.
A department official told The Indian Express that the jail superintendent has the right to grant parole to a convict for 21 days in case of any emergency. According to the official, the parole was granted to the Dera chief after his son Jasmeet moved an application.
“In the application, it was stated that Gurmeet’s 86-year-old mother Naseeb Kaur was admitted to a Gurgaon hospital. The parole was granted when the police confirmed that his seriously ill mother was in the hospital. The police also said that it doesn’t have any objection on his parole,” said an official.
A source claimed Gurmeet was taken from the jail at 9 am and returned at 7 pm.
Rohtak SP Rahul Sharma said the police had provided adequate security to ensure transportation of the convict from sunrise to sunset. “He was to be taken after the sunrise and he was to be brought back before sunset,” Sharma told The Indian Express.
A police officer said adequate security was to be provided because the convict has a large number of followers. “There was no illegality in the exercise and it was perfectly legal thing. This was done in broad daylight because it was mentioned in the letter of the jail superintendent that the exercise was to be done between the sunrise and sunset,” added the police officer.
Dera Sacha Sauda political wing chairman Ram Singh claimed even he was not aware about Gurmeet’s parole. “Nothing is wrong in it. Everybody has the right to get parole as per the legal provisions,” he added.
Apart from a rape case, the dera chief was convicted for the murder of Sirsa based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati too.
Ram Chander’s son Anshul Chhatrapati said, “I believe this decision was taken at the top level of the government. For a long time, efforts were being made for Dera chief’s parole but the administration at Rohtak and Sirsa had opposed it on the ground of law and order. The latest decision is objectionable because the reasons on which his parole was denied earlier still exists. It appears the government is preparing ground for his parole in future too.”
Anshul’s advocate, Lekhraj Dhot said, “Dera chief’s parole just before the Baroda Assembly bypoll and ahead of Bihar Assembly elections is questionable. The move, apparently, was aimed to get political benefits.”
Gurmeet had moved Punjab and Haryana High Court in June 2019 seeking interim bail. The application was “dismissed as withdrawn”. Nearly 10 days later, the High Court rejected his foster daughter’s plea for his release on parole for four weeks saying it was likely to create a law and order situation in the state.
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