A special CBI court Thursday sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and three others to life imprisonment in connection with the murder of journalist Ramchander Chhatrapati. Additionally, the court has imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each.
“All four have been sentenced to life imprisonment,” CBI counsel H P S Verma said. Ram Rahim appeared through video conferencing from Sunaria jail in Rohtak, where he is already serving a 20-year-sentence in a rape case. The three others – Nirmal Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Krishan Lal – appeared from Ambala jail.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Panchkula and Sirsa — headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect headed by self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh — and other parts of Haryana to maintain law and order situation, officials said.
On January 11, the special CBI court in Panchkula had convicted the jailed self-styled godman and his three followers – Krishan Lal, Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh – to prison in the case pertaining to the murder of Chhatrapati that dates back to 2002.
Chhatrapati (51), was shot dead at his house on October 24, 2002 after his newspaper, ‘Poora Sach’, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by Gurmeet Ram Rahim at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. The journalist later succumbed to injuries and a case was registered in 2003. The case was handed over to the CBI, which filed the chargesheet in July 2007.
Speaking outside the CBI court, the agency’s counsel Verma had said, “Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and his former manager, Krishan Lal, was held guilty under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 302 (murder) of IPC. Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh was held guilty under Section 302 (murder) of IPC read with Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC. Kuldeep Singh and Krishan Lal were also held guilty under Section 25 and Section 29 of Arms Act, respectively.”