New Delhi/Rohtak: A special CBI court on Monday sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ‘Insan’ to 10 years in prison after his conviction in a 2002 rape case. The controversial guru was found guilty of rape charges by the court on Friday and has been lodged up in Rohtak jail since.
A multi-layer security cordon has been thrown around the Rohtak district jail and security has been beefed up to prevent any untoward incident across Haryana, Punjab and other affected areas ahead of the final verdict today.
After the initial verdict came out on Friday, Dera followers or ‘premis’ indulged in widespread violence and arson with the state administration subsequently imposing curfew in many parts of Haryana and Punjab to control the rioting mob.
Here are the latest updates and developments on the CBI special court’s final verdict against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh:
■ Both 10-year sentences in the rape cases against Ram Rahim Singh will run consecutively for a total of 20 years jail, says CBI spokesperson.
■ The special CBI court has fined Ram Rahim Singh Rs15 lakh in each rape case, says the defence lawyer.
■ CBI court jails Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for 10 years in the second rape case, says the defence lawyer. This term will run non concurrent with the 10-year jail term announced earlier.
■ No untoward incident was reported from Sirsa after the pronouncement of the quantum of sentence of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has been convicted in a rape case, a senior Haryana government official said today. Speaking to reporters here, IAS officer V Umashankar also said that the district authorities had ordered the attachment of the Sirsa-based Dera’s accounts and compensation to those affected in the violence earlier could be given from these. “There was no report of any untoward incident and I hope that peace will be maintained,” Umashankar said. He said excluding the permanent residents of the area, many of whom were also Dera followers, the number of other supporters in the sect’s headquarters in Sirsa was not more than a thousand. (PTI)
■ Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar summoned an emergency meeting today of top officials of the state after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, convicted in a 2002 rape case, was sentenced to 10 years in jail, a senior official said. Khattar also appealed to the people, especially Dera followers, to maintain peace, the official added. “The chief minister summoned an emergency meet of the chief secretary, home secretary, Haryana DGP and other senior officials to take stock of the situation after the CBI court awarded the jail term to the Dera chief,” the official said. The conviction on Friday of the Dera head by a CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana, triggered violent protests by Dera followers. At least 38 people were killed and 260 injured in Haryana, mostly in Panchkula. (PTI)
■ A car was set on fire by unknown persons in the Kotli village near Sirsa today after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to ten years in prison for rape, the police said
■ The Dera chief pleaded for leniency in court, reports NDTV
■ Army conducts flag march in Haryana ‘s Sirsa after sentencing of Ram Rahim Singh in rape case against him. (ANI)
■ Medical examination of Dera chief Ram Rahim Singh is being done, after this he will be given a jail uniform and will be allotted a cell in jail. (ANI)
■ Punjab CM Amarinder Singh: There is total normalcy, our forces are on their toes. Will not let any untoward incident happen. This (sentence) must be accepted by the people and peace must prevail. (ANI)
■ A special CBI court today sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 10 years in prison after his conviction in a 2002 rape case that triggered violence leaving 38 dead and scores injured in Haryana.
CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh, who holds the court in Panchkula, near Chandigarh, pronounced the sentence in a special courtroom set up inside the Sunaria jail where Ram Rahim, the 50-year-old self-styled godman, is lodged since last Friday after he was convicted.
The judge was brought to Rohtak by a chopper from Chandigarh and landed in a helipad near the jail located on the outskirts of Rohtak.
The judge awarded the 10-year jail term after hearing arguments on the quantum of sentence by prosecution and defence lawyers.
The special courtroom within the jail was set up on the instructions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The high court had notified district jail at Sunaria as a place of sitting of CBI court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Panchkula for the purpose of hearing on the quantum of sentence and pronouncement of the sentence. (PTI)
■ Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh holds security review meeting with DGP,Chief Secretary and other senior officials in Chandigarh as the sentencing hearing in Rohtak jail continues, ANI reports.
Meanwhile, NDTV reports at least 2 cars were set on fire in Sirsa.
■ Prosecution demands maximum punishment for rape convict Dera chief Ram Rahim Singh, but the defence argues that Singh is a social worker who has worked for welfare of people, so judge should take a lenient view, ANI reports.
■ Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh has allotted 10 minutes to both sides to put forth their arguments. (ANI)
■ Arguments begin at Rohtak’s Sonaira jail for quantum of sentence in Ram Rahim Singh rape case. The prosecution demands maxium punishment for rape convict. (ANI)
■ Case against Dera chief: Chopper carrying Special CBI judge lands at Sunaria jail in Rohtak. (PTI)
■ Dera chief ‘s lawyer S.K. Narwana reaches makeshift court in Rohtak Jail ahead of quantum of sentence hearing, ANI reports.
■ 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 judgment goes against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a senior Punjab Police official said today.
The plan to “indulge in arson and rioting” in Punjab was found during an investigation conducted by the Punjab Police.
Following the conviction of Ram Rahim, there were 28 incidents of arson, besides damage to state, central government offices or properties in seven districts of the Malwa region in Punjab.
“Almost 15 days ahead of the court verdict, a youth brigade which was to be called ‘A team’ was formed to trigger violence in Punjab if the court judgement goes against Dera Sacha Sauda chief. It was decided in a meeting,” Sangrur SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu told PTI today.
The police have also identified the main accused allegedly involved in arson and rioting in Sangrur. They have been identified as Duni Chand, Prithi Chand and Bittu, the SSP said adding that they were absconding.
As many as 12 incidents of violence were reported from Sangrur district only following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda sect head, police said.
“We have arrested 23 persons including a woman in connection with arson and rioting,” SSP said.
■ Sangrur Police assessed property damage of worth Rs 23.72 lakh during violence in Sangrur district. The property damaged included power gird, telephone exchange and sewa Kendra, he said. Sangrur Police has also assessed an expenditure of Rs 85.17 lakh for making security arrangements which included expenditure related to paramilitary forces and police force in the district.
“We shall submit the detail of expenditure to the state government in order to recover from the Dera,” SSP said. (PTI)
■ Around a hundred “items”, including lathis, were found buried under the ground at a congregation centre of Dera Sacha Sauda in Haryana’s Sonepat district during a police search operation.
The state police has launched a crackdown on the Dera’s congregation centres on suspicion that the followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh could be storing petrol, diesel and weapons there.
In an attempt to avert another mob mayhem, the police have taken a number of the dera followers into preventive detention.
“Several items, including lathis and sticks, were seized from the fields near Dera Sacha Sauda congregation centres in Bahalgarh,” IG (Rohtak range) Navdeep Singh Virk told reporters outside the Sunaria jail.
“We have seized over a hundred items in Sonepat. We have made elaborate security arrangements and put some persons under preventive detention,” Virk said.
Sonepat’s Additional SP D K Bhardwaj said the police seized lathis and other “items” from the Dera’s congregation centre at Bahalgarh during a search operation.
Lathis were found buried 2.5 feet under the ground. The police had to dug up the piece of land to take them out, he said.
Rohtak SP Pankaj Nain said a five-layer security ring has been thrown around the Sunaria jail in Rohtak and no incident of violence has been reported yet. The Army is on standby, he said. The hearing on the sentencing is likely to begin at 2.30pm inside the jail premises. (PTI)