WITH LAKHS of intimidating followers and influential people apparently protecting him, the rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was not an easy one to crack for the CBI. The probe was handed over to DIG Mulinja Narayanan in 2007, and he had to immediately face threats from Ram Rahim’s followers and pressure from his superiors and politicians.
Now retired, Narayanan told The Indian Express that he is very happy that the case has reached the logical conclusion and recalled how many people wanted him to close the case without a probe. “The day I got the case, my superior walked into my room and said that this case was being given to me for closing (it),” Narayanan said.
He refused to buckle under pressure. “The case had come to me on High Court orders. The FIR had been registered in 2002 but for five years nothing had happened. Then the court ordered the case to be given to someone in CBI who would not be influenced. I told my superior that the investigation will go on, and I would not obey his orders,” Narayanan said.
Senior CBI officers were not the only ones allegedly trying to shield Ram Rahim — Narayanan said he got calls from politicians as well. These included top leaders and Haryana MPs. “Many MPs and politicians, including top leaders, called me…. But I did not come under pressure…. That the case had been handed over by High Court helped,” he said.
The officer was also threatened by Dera followers, who, he said, had tried to find his residence. These were not the only hurdles in the probe. Investigating a case where the complaint was registered on the basis of letters detailing sexual exploitation was not easy.
“It was difficult to locate the complainant. The letter was traced to Hoshiarpur (in Punjab), but the person behind it could not be traced — we reached the victims with great difficulty,” Narayanan said. “Then I had to work on convincing her and her family to get her statement recorded in front of a magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC. “Witnesses and victims had been threatened by Dera people, so it was not easy to get things around.”
The big problem after that was to get Ram Rahim for questioning. “After efforts, he agreed to be questioned, but only for half-an-hour. We grilled him for two-and-a-half hours. He stood through the questioning with his hands on either side —- he was polite but denied all charges.”
The officer, who rose from an inspector to become a DIG before retiring in 2009, is now hoping that the two murder cases against Ram Rahim will also reach their logical conclusion. “Both cases are strong,” he said.