Chandigarh: Final arguments in two murder cases allegedly involving Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh began in a special CBI court in Panchkula on Saturday amid heightened security arrangements.
The court is currently hearing two murder cases — one involving killing of a journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and another involving death of a former Dera manager Ranjit Singh. The court has decided to hear final arguments in the two murder cases separately. Ranjit Singh’s murder case will be heard on a daily basis from Monday, the court said. Chhatrapati’s case will now be heard on September 22. Meanwhile, the Dera chief's former driver Khatta Singh moved an application in the court seeking to record a fresh statement.
While seven accused in the murder cases were present in the court in Panchkula, the jailed sect chief took part in the hearing through video conferencing from the district jail in Sunaria near Rohtak. Singh has been lodged in the Rohtak jail following his conviction in August in two rape cases. He has been named as the main conspirator in both cases. Tight security arrangements, including paramilitary forces and Haryana police personnel, were in place in Panchkula town, especially around the court complex.
Security arrangements were also tightened around the prison complex near Rohtak and in Sirsa district, where the headquarters of the sect are located. “We have made adequate security arrangements ahead of the hearing in the cases,” said Haryana DGP B.S. Sandhu.
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 year in jail sentence on August 28 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 August 25.
It is worth mentioning that 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.
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.