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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentencing highlights: Dera Sacha Sauda chief gets 20 years rigorous imprisonment

Gurmeet Ram Rahim sentencing live updates: Before CBI judge Jagdeep Singh read out the sentence, dera followers burnt two cars in Sirsa. Last week, 38 people were killed in the subsequent violence after the court held him guilty of raping two of his followers.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 28, 2017 11:06:12 pm
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A special CBI court on Monday sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment. The Dera chief was convicted of rape on August 25. Giving details of the sentencing, CBI counsel in the case, said, “It is 20 years punishment and both the sentences shall not run concurrently. It means, he shall remain inside the jail for 20 years. Court has also imposed a fine of Rs. 30 lakh on dera chief (Rs. 15 lakh in each of the case of two rapes that he committed). the fine shall be payable Rs. 15 lakh each to both the rape victims)”.

Earlier today, CBI judge Jagdeep Singh was flown in a helicopter to Sunaria Jail, where a special court room was set up for pronouncing the quantum of sentence in a rape case.

A three-tier security ring had been installed around Rohtak’s Sunaria district jail. The administration had also issued a stern warning and kept vigil in the states of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi ahead of the announcement of sentence keeping in mind the violence that broke out after the verdict was announced where 38 people were killed.

Below are the highlights:

8.00 pm: Thank you so much for joining us and making those engaging comments on the blog. We hope you have enjoyed our coverage.

7.25 pm: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar confirmed that Ram Rahim Singh has been sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment and that a fine of Rs 15 lakh has been imposed on him for each of the two cases.

HPS Verma, CBI counsel in the case, said, “It is 20 years punishment and both the sentences shall not run concurrent. It means, he shall remain inside the jail for 20 years. Court has also imposed a fine of Rs. 30 lakh on dera chief (Rs. 15 lakh in each of the case of two rapes that he committed). the fine shall be payable Rs. 15 lakh each to both the rape victims)”.

7.07 pm: It seems there is some confusion over the sentence. According to reports, he has been given 20 years of imprisonment as he is convicted of raping two women and sentenced with 10 years punishment in each of the cases. Both the sentences shall not be concurrent and he will have to undergo the sentence one after another.

6.53 pm: Ram Rahim’s lawyer says they will appeal in higher courts. Giving details of the sentencing, the lawyer stated that the judge had announced 10 years of imprisonment and Rs 15 lakh fine each in two cases besides giving compensation of Rs 14 lakh to both the victims, reports ANI.

6.50 pm: Curfew will be imposed in Punjab’s Barnala from 9 pm tonight till 9 am tomorrow, said Harjeet Singh, SSP Barnala.

5.56 pm: Heavy security arrangements are in place in Sirsa.

5.35 pm: Haryana police also confirmed that there has been no incident of violence following the sentencing.

5.26 pm: Assessing the situation, Haryana police said there are still more than 1000 people inside the Dera, but added that numbers have come down significantly. Police added that they were working to identify those who were behind the instigation of violence, ANI reports.

5.24 pm: Army is presently conducting flag march in Panchkula after sentencing of Ram Rahim Singh.

5.05 pm: Reflecting on the prison sentence of the Dera chief, Baba Ramdev said the court has set an example that no one can escape the law, ANI reports.

4.35 pm: Describing Ram Rahim Singh’s sentencing for rape as ‘satisfactory’, Anshul Chhatrapati, son of slain journalist who exposed the Dera Sacha Sauda chief, said he had been saying since long that the convicted rapist was an enemy to the society, ANI reports.

4.00 pm: For those of you just joining us, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was awarded 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for raping two of his followers.

The prosecution demanded maximum punishment in the case, while Ram Rahim Singh’s counsel cited his philanthropic work and sought leniency. The defence also cited the dera chief health problems.

Dismissing the defence lawyer’s arguments, CBI judge Jagdeep Singh awarded 10 years of RI to Ram Rahim Singh. TV reports suggest that the rape victims might move the Punjab and Haryana High Court and seek life sentence for Ram Rahim Singh.

3.55 pm: Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has convened an emergency meeting at his Chandigarh residence. He will be meeting senior bureaucrats, police official and BJP leaders.

3.50 pm: Unconfirmed TV reports say Gurmeet Ram Rahim is refusing to leave the specially set up courtroom. “He is sitting on the floor and crying,” said an anchor.

3.45 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the sentence must be accepted by the people and peace must prevail. “There is total normalcy, our forces are on their toes. Will not let any untoward incident happen,” he said.

3.40 pm: Punjab advocate general Atul Nanda welcomed the court judgment.

3.35 pm: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is currently undergoing a medical examination inside the Sunaria Jail. Later, he will be allotted a cell and asked to change into prison uniform.

3.30 pm: BREAKING CBI court sentences Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 10 years jail.

3.25 pm: Dera Sacha Sauda chairperson Vipassana Insaan appeals to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh followers to maintain peace. “I appeal to Dera followers to peacefully abide by the judgement today,” she told news agency ANI.

3.20 pm: BREAKING Two cars have been torched by Dera Sacha Sauda supporters in Phoolka area of Haryana’s Sirsa, according to news agency ANI.

3.15 pm: Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is holding a security review meeting with DGP, Chief Secretary and other senior officials.

3.10 pm: Quantum of punishment to be announced anytime now. Gurmeet Ram Rahim could be sentenced to a minimum of seven years jail. It can also extend up to life.

3.07 pm: A teary-eyed Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh plead for leniency, according to TV reports.

3.05 pm: CBI judge Jagdeep Singh reading out the sentence to convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, TV reports.

2.51 pm: With just moments left for the pronouncement of the sentence, Haryana police gears to thwart any unwanted incident.

2.49 pm: Ram Rahim Singh’s counsel argues that he is a social worker who has worked for welfare of people, so judge should take a lenient view when awarding the quantum of sentence.

2.37 pm: CBI judge has allotted 10 minutes to each side to put forth their argument, prosecution demands maximum punishment for rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

2:15 pm: Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh has reached Rohtak’s Sonaria jail for the quantum of sentence hearing.

2.03 pm: Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s counsel consists of six lawyers headed by SK Narwana who reached the Rotak jail premises by road.

1.59 pm: A senior Punjab Police official says, a’youth brigade’ was formed several days ahead of the verdict in the rape case against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief to “trigger violence” in Punjab if the judgement goes against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

1.53 pm: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s lawyer SK Narwana reaches the special court setup inside Rohtak’s Sunaria jail as proceedings set to begin shortly to award quantum of punishment.

Security personnel keeping strict vigil near Sunariya Jail in which Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Ram Rahim’s quantum of punishment will be awarded. (Source: PTI)

1.41 pm: Police has launched a crack down on the Dera’s congregation centres on suspicion that the followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh could be storing petrol, diesel and weapons there. Sonipat’s Additional SP D K Bhardwaj said the police seized lathis and other “items” from the Dera’s congregation centre at Bahalgarh buried 2.5 feet inside the ground.

1.30 pm: Special judge Jagdeep Singh expected to arrive at the Sunaria jail premise shortly.

1.15 pm: Haryana Police is taking all measures to maintain peace in the area. Police has been patrolling in cities since morning to maintain calm ahead of the crucial sentence announcement in a few hours.

12.36 pm: Delhi Police says that they are ready to face any eventuality with just hours to announcement of sentence to convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in Rohtak.

12.25 pm: People in Sirsa readies themselves to face angry followers after pronouncement of judgement. Villagers in Shahpur Beghu, 500 metres from the Dera headquarters, said they were “fully prepared” to face violent followers of the self-styled godman.

12.17 pm: Tight security and vigil is being maintained around the Sunaria jail where proceedings will begin shortly to award the quantum of sentence to convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

11.54 am: CBI judge is being flown to Sunaria jail in a special helicopter from Panchkula.

11.52 am: CBI judge Jagdeep Singh will reach Sunaria jail premises in 40 minutes.

11.50 am: Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh leaves for Sunaria jail from Panchkula. Proceedings will begin at special court room setup inside Sunaria jail around 2.30 pm.

11.45 am: Delhi Police conducted flag marches in various parts of the city on Monday to thwart any unwanted incident ahead of the announcement of quantum of punishment to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in Rajkot. The flag marches were conducted in Seelampur, Jaffarabad, Maujpur areas.

11.42 am: Security forces are maintaining extreme vigil in districts with sizeable Dera followers including in Bathinda, Sangrur and Moga in Punjab.

11.39 am: With trains to Rohtak cancelled and police on high alert, railway stations and bus stands appear deserted in Haryana.

11.35 am: Meeting on Punjab, Haryana situation at North Block ends, officials have been directed to continuously monitor the situation ahead of the announcement of quantum of punishment.

11.17 am: Police officials in Rohtak say that if during checking, any person fails to produce proof of identity or specify reason for visiting the district, they would be taken into custody.

11.13 am: Trains and buses to Rohtak stand cancelled to stop Dera supporters from gathering in the district.

Also Read: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh sentencing: Tight vigil in Haryana and Punjab (Read Here)

11.12 am: Police conducts flag march in Barnala ahead of the sentence of punishment to Dera chief in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail.

10:55 am: Meeting is underway at the North Block to discuss the security situation.

10.45 am: MHA says that the situation in Haryana is tense but under control with the Army conducting flag march in sensitive areas.

10.34 am: Police has recovered around 100 objectionable items including batons from Bahalgarh Dera in Sonipath says IGP Navdeep Singh Virk.

10.23 am: CBI judge Jagdeep Singh will be flown in by a special helicopter and will land in the helipad near the Sunaria jail where a small court room has been setup for pronouncement of the sentence.

10.19 am: Rohtak Deputy Commissioner Atul Kumar has told news agency PTI that police will not hesitate in opening fire at those spreading violence.

10.16 am: 23 companies of paramilitary forces has been deployed in and around Rohtak and also around the Sunaria Jail.

10.00 am: A multi-layered security system has been put in place in Rohtak and neighbouring areas to stop Dera supporters from gathering, the announcement of sentence will be done from inside Sunaria Jail where the special CBI court Judge will be flown in.

9.55 am: IGP Rohtak Range warns that if any unidentified person tries to go near the high security Sunaria jail where Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been lodged, a shoot at sight order can be implemented against them. The area has been turned into a cantonment.

9.45 am: With just hours left in pronouncement of sentence, sadhus in Varanasi are demanding from the court to hang Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh convicted in the rape case.

8.52 am: Ahead of the announcement of sentence, section 144 has been imposed in 11 districts of Delhi. Delhi Police conducted flag marches in different areas of the capital city on Sunday night.

8.46 am: Meanwhile, a woman has been arrested from Sunaria outer bypass  as she wanted to meet Gurmeet Ram Rahim in Sunaria jail.

8.45 am: Security has been tightened around Sunaria jail where Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been lodged since August 25. Police is conducting security checks at various barricades to keep situation under control.

8.15 am: With pronouncement of sentence in just hours Haryana has been turned into a cantonment with deployment of police and paramilitary personnel throughout the state. Rohtak Range IGP, Navdeep Singh Virk said that they have ensured that no Dera follower  is allowed to enter Rohtak district or move around jail.

8:00 am: Welcome to the live blog where we will bring you all the live updates in the case pertaining to the quantum of sentence for convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

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