CHANDIGARH POLICE Head Constable (HC), Lal Chand, who was sent by his senior officers to collect intelligence in Panchkula a week before Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was to appear in a CBI court, instead went to the dera headquarters in Sirsa from August 18-24. The Panchkula police on Tuesday arrested Lal Chand for his alleged role in a bid to ‘free’ the Dera chief from court premises after his conviction on rape charges on August 25.
Lal Chand, posted in the CID wing of Chandigarh Police, was known among his colleagues to be a staunch Dera follower. It was owing to this that his senior officers entrusted him with the task of collecting intelligence about the Dera followers’ activities. A large number of Dera followers had started camping in and around Panchkula a week before the CBI court had to pronounced its verdict on Dera chief’s involvement in the rape case registered against him.
Lal Chand’s preliminary interrogation done by the Panchkula police revealed that he not only stayed inside the dera’s headquarters from August 18- 24 and even travelled in the convoy of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim from Sirsa to Panchkula CBI Court on August 25. Panchkula Police Commissioner A S Chawla said, “During interrogation, Lal Chand claimed that he was carrying out his duty that was assigned to him by his senior officers. He added that he was collecting intelligence about the movements of Dera followers. We have sought a response from Chandigarh Police on Lal Chand’s claims. We have not received a reply yet.”
Chawla added, “We have strong evidence that Lal Chand also travelled with Dera chief’s family members from Panchkula to Timber Trail and then returned to Dera headquarters in Sirsa on August 25.” DIG O P Mishra, who also heads the CID wing of Chandigarh Police, said, “I have no idea what evidence Panchkula police has against Lal Chand. But, it is a fact that we deputed Lal Chand in Panchkula for gathering information about the movements of Dera followers on August 25. I will not make any further comment on the investigation of Panchkula police.”
Panchkula police sources revealed that Lal Chand was spotted near Panchkula CBI court on August 25. After the violence broke out in Panchkula, post the dera chief’s conviction, he fled. Panchkula police started looking for Lal Chand and found that he was staying at his brother’s place in Bathinda. Raids were carried out but he could not be arrested. Panchkula police also issued him formal summons to join investigation, but he did not acknowledge. On Monday, Lal Chand finally acknowledged the notice issued to him by Panchkula police and appeared before the SIT. He was subsequently arrested and sent to police custody for six days.