July 6, 2020 8:55:13 pm
THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court Monday declined interim bail to self-styled godman and murder-convict Rampal after the Haryana Police said that it cannot give an assurance that he will positively surrender peacefully later after release from prison.
Superintendent of Police, Rohtak, Rahul Sharma, in reply to a court order, said, “In view of the past conduct of the applicant, there is an apprehension that he will get himself surrounded by his followers and may try to evade the legal process”.
Rampal and several of his associates were convicted in October 2018 in two separate cases of murder. In one case, five deaths had taken place during a two-week long standoff between his followers and police in 2014 when the latter had come to arrest him in a contempt case. The other case pertains to the death of a woman follower, who was also alleged to have been used as a human shield at Satlok Ashram.
While an application for the interim bail was dismissed on July 1 in one of the two cases, the HC had sought police’s reply in another case. Rampal had sought suspension of sentence for a week to attend the wedding of his grand-daughter. He is in custody in four cases. The trial in two other cases is pending.
The police in its reply said Rampal has lakhs of followers in various parts of the country and they have a tendency to assemble in large congregations in a very short span of time. “They are ready to go to any extent to adhere to the words of the applicant. Various criminal cases have been registered against the applicant and his disciples. As and when the applicant was required to be produced in the trial court an extra force was required to be deployed for maintaining the law and order…,” it said.
Submitting that the bride’s father has already been granted bail and he can perform the kanyadan, the police further said extraordinary arrangements would have to be put in place to control gathering of followers outside the wedding venue in case he is released. However, the police said, the entire force at present is working round the clock to contain the spread of coronavirus and Rohtak has 138 containment zones where extra officials have been deployed.
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