The cloudy days for the Dera Sachha Sauda Chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim do not seem to be over yet. The district court on Monday sentenced him to an imprisonment of 20 years in the rape case of 2 Sadhvis from his Ashram. The victim had lodged a case against him back in 2002 and finally got Justice on 28 Aug 2017.
Apart from the rape charges the Dera Chief is also charged with two murder cases against him. One is the murder case of Ram Chander Chhatrapati a journalist who was allegedly murdered for probing the rape allegations against Ram Rahim by the Dera men on the orders of the Chief. The journalist was shot on October 24, 2002, by the Dera men for investigating and the rape case filed against Ram Rahim. Ram Chander died on November 21 at the Apollo hospital in New Delhi. This murder led to a massive protest by the journalist demanding action against the Dera Chief.
The second case Ram Rahim is charged with is the murder of Ranjeet Singh, who happens to be the brother of one of the rape victim Sadhvi. The Sadhvi had written a letter to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, seeking justice and revealing the misdeeds of the self-styled Godman, who claimed t be God himself. The letter read that the Dera chief forced the females of his Ashram to extend sexual favours to him on gunpoint. The Dera head killed Ranjit, on 10 July 2002, on the suspicion that he leaked the anonymous letter – that the woman had written to then PM.
Both the cases were pending in the Panchkula court from past 15 years and the investigation was handed over to CBI. The Punjab and Haryana High court, last month had set the deadline for the CBI court to conclude the case within three months. Following the orders of the High Court, the pending cases speeded up resulting in declaring Gurmeet Ram Rahim to be guilty of raping two women of his Ashram and sentencing him to an imprisonment of 20 years.
After the verdict of the rape cases, the court has now set the date for hearing the murder cases on Sep 16. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will submit its final arguments in the case on Sep 16 in both the murder cases against Ram Rahim and the final verdict is expected to be announced shortly.
The Court’s verdict on the rape cases has given a strong point for the argument to the CBI. According to the statement of top CBI sources given to ET, the case is, even more, stronger and is likely to find Ram Rahim convicted in the murder case also after him being declared guilty in the rape cases. According to the CBI official, “antecedents of an accused hold prime importance during a trial. If an accused is found to have doubtful antecedents the case against him is strengthened. In the instant case, Ram Rahim now stands guilty of rape. This will be contended in the final arguments (in murder trials) before the court.”
The cases pending against Ram Rahim were delayed for so many years on the grounds that the Dera chief had filed as many as 60 petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court pleading innocence. But all these petitions were denied by the High court after the CBI lawyer presents his arguments and opposed the petitions.
As per the recent updates, the deadline for one of the murder case ends in October this year and there are possibilities of the Dera Chief being found guilty in this too.
However, the Punjab and Haryana government are facing tough times maintaining peace in the states as soon after the court announced its verdict, lakhs of Ram Rahim’s followers came to the grounds spreading violence and protesting against the decision. Though the government has made high-security arrangements by deploying 7 layer security, the hearing and verdict after 16 Sep many bring in fresh waves of violence by the Dera followers.