Rapist Dera baba jailed for 20 years

Sentences in 2 rape cases to run consecutively
Report by: 
Agencies
Rohtak
28 Aug 2017

A special CBI court today sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years in prison after his conviction in two rape cases.

CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh pronounced two sentences of 10 years rigorous imprisonment in each of the two cases that date back to 2002, said defence lawyer S K Garg Narwana. He said both sentences will run consecutively for a total of 20 years in jail for the flamboyant guru who has millions of followers and counts politicians as well as celebrities as his friends. Singh also fined him Rs 15 lakh in each of the two cases, of which Rs 14 lakh each would go to the two victims who were part of his sect and were coerced into having sex with him. The defence counsel sought leniency from the court arguing that Ram Rahim was active in social work and had health issues.

The convict said he will appeal against the orders in a high court. The sentence was passed in a special courtroom set up inside the Sunaria jail where Ram Rahim, the 50-year-old self-proclaimed godman, is lodged since last Friday after he was convicted. Media reports said he broke down and begged for forgiveness with folded hands when the first sentence was passed. The judge was brought to Rohtak by a helicopter from Chandigarh and landed at a helipad near the jail located on the outskirts of Rohtak. There were no immediate reports of violence. At least 38 people were killed and hundreds injured on Friday in Haryana and Punjab, which had seen widespread violence by his followers after his conviction on Friday. Most of the dead were shot by police who had opened fire to quell the protests. To avoid more trouble it was decided that CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh should pronounce the sentence in the jail, rather than bring Ram Rahim back to his court in Panchkula, near Chandigarh.

Singh arrived in Rohtak in a helicopter, landing on 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. A multi-layer security cordon manned by police and 23 companies of paramilitary forces was thrown in and around Rohtak and also around the jail. The Army has been kept on standby while all routes to the jail were sealed. Haryana and Punjab remained on high alert with officials warning that violent miscreants will be shot at sight, describing the security situation as "challenging."

Ram Rahim was found guilty of rape in a case that stemmed from an anonymous written complaint in April 2002 that he had sexually exploited two female followers. The case was registered by the CBI in December 2002 on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The CBI filed the chargesheet against the Dera head in Ambala court in July 2007. The chargesheet mentions sexual exploitation of two 'Sadhvis' (women followers) between 1999 and 2001.