Arrest of a Dera Sacha Sauda follower from the spot and recovery of a revolver and a walkie-talkie provided by the the Sirsa-based Dera’s manager to the assailants helped the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) nail Gurmeet Ram Rahim in the murder case of journalist Ram Chander Chattarpati.
Chattarpati, 51, a resident of Jharyana’s Sirsa district had started an evening newspaper ‘Poora Sach’ in February 2000. He had been constantly publishing news regarding the alleged wrongdoings at the Dera, the CBI probe revealed. In May 2002, according to the CBI, he published a news item in connection with an “anonymous complaint by a Sadhvi regarding alleged sexual exploitation of Sadhvis at the Dera”. After this, Chattarpati had received calls from the Dera threatening him with dire consequences. Chattarpati had then, on July 2, 2002, sent a letter to the Sirsa SP requesting security cover.
“On October 23, 2012, on arrival of Baba Gurmeet Singh at his gufa in the Dera from Jalandhar, Krishan Lal (manager), Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh showed him the newspaper ‘Poora Sach’ of that day, which contained an article by Chattarpati…On reading it Baba Gurmeet Singh became furious and ordered Krishan Lal, Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh to eliminate Chattarpati. After Baba Gurmeet Singh ordered the aforesaid accused persons to eliminate Chattarpati, accused Krishan Lal handed over a walkie-talkie set of the Dera and his own revolver to accused Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh in presence of Baba Gurmeet Singh commanding them to kill Chattarpati, as ordered by Baba Gurmeet Singh,” the CBI had stated in its chargesheet submitted to a CBI court in July 2007. The chargesheet was filed by CBI Investigation Officer (IO) Satish Dagar and Chief Investigation Officer M Narayanan.
While Krishan Lal was manager of the Dera, Nirmal Singh and Kuldeep Singh worked there as carpenters.
Chattarpati was shot at in the evening of October 24, 2012. On hearing the shouts and shrieks, three policemen came running towards the spot (outside Chattarpati’s residence) and nabbed one of the accused, Kuldeep Singh. Nirmal Singh, however, managed to flee riding a scooter. Chattarpati’s father Sohana Ram Sangha gave a letter to the then deputy commissioner (DC) Sirsa with a copy to the local SP requesting that Chattarpati’s statement be recorded before a magistrate.
“But it (the statement) was not recorded,” Chattarpati’s son Anshul told the CBI during the investigation. Chattarpati died at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital on November 21, 2002.
”..the walkie-talkie set of the Dera issued to accused Krishan Lal… on the day of murder…was recovered from accused Nirmal Singh on October 26, 2002, who escaped after shooting at Chattarpati on October 24, 2002, which establishes the involvement of Baba Gurmeet Singh, chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, in
the murder,” the CBI chargesheet read.
The polygraph/lie detection test of accused Avtar Singh, Inder Sain and Krishan Lal showed deceptions in their statements indicating that Baba Gurmeet Singh, Krishan Lal, Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh hatched a criminal conspiracy to kill Ram Chander Chattarpati, and in furtherance of that, Ram Chander Chattarpati was killed by Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh with the revolver of accused Krishan Lal,” read the CBI chargesheet. Thus, the CBI said, “this scientific report corroborates that above mentioned facts revealed during investigation that Baba Gurmeet Singh alongwith co-accused Krishan Lal, Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh hatched a criminal conspiracy to kill Ram Changer Chattarpati on October 24, 2012”.