Dera chief Ram Rahim Singh’s trial in 2 murder cases begins today, troops deployed in Panchkula
Chandigarh: Contingents of paramilitary troops and the Haryana Police have been deployed in Panchkula as security arrangements were tightened ahead of Saturday’s hearing in two murder cases against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Fifty-year-old Ram Rahim Singh will appear before a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in Chandigarh through video conferencing from the Rohtak jail, where he is lodged after being sentenced to 20 years in prison in two rape cases.
The CBI court is hearing the cases of murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh.
Murder is punishable with life imprisonment or death sentence. “We have made adequate security arrangements ahead of the hearing in the cases,” Haryana director general of police B. S. Sandhu said. Contingents of paramilitary troops and the Haryana police have been stationed in Panchkula to prevent any untoward incident, he said.
“The hearing in the cases against Ram Rahim, who is lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak, will be conducted through video conferencing,” Sandhu said.
Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in jail on 28 August in the two rape cases by the special CBI Court. Several parts of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan had witnessed large-scale violence following his conviction in the two rape cases on 25 August. While forty-one people were killed in Haryana in the violence, no deaths were reported from Punjab and Rajasthan.
CBI counsel H. P. S. Verma said the final arguments in the two murders cases will start on Saturday. Sirsa-based journalist Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after the evening newspaper ‘Poora Sach’, owned by him, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were allegedly being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. He died later.
The second case relates to the murder of former Dera manager Ranjit Singh who was allegedly shot dead in 2002. He was murdered for his suspected role in the circulation of the anonymous letter, which had made the sexual exploitation allegations, according to the prosecution.
The Punjab and Haryana high court had ordered a CBI probe in November 2003 into the two murders after the families of both the victims approached the court. The CBI had filed the charge sheet in the murder cases on 30 July, 2007.