'Godman' Rampal 'unwell', not to appear before high court

'Godman' Rampal 'unwell', not to appear before high court

'Godman' Rampal 'unwell', not to appear before high court

With the deadline for him to appear before Punjab and Haryana High Court in a contempt case ending today, self-styled godman Rampal's supporters today said he remained "unwell" and would seek more time from court.

As the stand-off continued at Rampal's Satlok Ashram, where his followers were resisting his arrest after a fresh non-bailable warrant was issued a week ago, an Ashram spokesman said the Godman, who underwent a medical examination last night, was not in a condition to travel to Chandigarh and that he could appear through video conferencing.

"He is not in a condition to travel as he remains unwell. We will give a medical certificate which will be presented to the High Court," Ashram spokesman Raj Kapoor said.
He said that they will seek more time from court and that another date be given till Rampal's condition improves.

Kapoor also said that last night the medical examination of the godman had been conducted by a five-member Board of doctors comprising three doctors of the state Health Department and two private ones who have come here from Delhi and Ludhiana.
"Sant Rampal ji has been advised complete rest," he said, adding the he could appear through video conferencing.

Rejecting Haryana government's plea that Rampal was  unwell and his arrest would create law and order problems,  the High Court had on Monday last issued a fresh non-bailable arrest warrant against the 63-year-old controversial godman in a contempt case and asked as to why his bail in a 2006 murder case should not be cancelled.

The situation remained tense in and around the Ashram with a large number of followers including women and children guarding the controversial godman and security personnel, including those of central para military forces, deployed in the area.

Referring to last year's clash incident in Rampal's Karontha village Ashram in Rohtak district, Kapoor demanded that a CBI probe be conducted into the incident, in which two persons were killed and many others injured.

Meanwhile, late last night, a sizeable number of security personnel including those of Haryana Police and paramilitary deployed around the Ashram here had marched back from the Ashram to their camps.

"Chief volunteer" of the Ashram Purushottam Dass said in view of Ramal's health condition, his appearance through video conferencing was more feasible.

Authorities had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC, which bars assembly of more than four people at one place, at various places, including Barwala, Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali to avert any violent backlash by his supporters opposing his arrest.
The Hisar-Chandigarh highway had been sealed near Barwala.

Holding that the state government lacked willingness to arrest the godman and no sincere efforts were made to produce him before it, the HC had directed the Haryana Director General of Police and the Home Secretary to ensure that Rampal appears in person before it.

Rampal has been charged with interfering in judicial proceedings during the hearing of a case in the Hisar sessions court.

On July 15, his supporters had marched inside the district court complex in Hisar and tried to create trouble in the court proceedings.

The HC took cognisance of the case and issued notices to Rampal and the state government but he failed to appear before it.

During the day yesterday, police and paramilitary forces had surrounded the ashram and sealed all roads leading to the premises where disciples of the godman, including a sizeable number of women and children, were holed up to prevent his arrest.

Several rounds of informal talks between the district authorities, some political leaders and the ashram management failed to break the impasse over his arrest.

Security measures have been strengthened around the  Punjab and Haryana High Court premises in Chandigarh while  additional forces have been deployed around the railway station and the inter-state bus terminals, officials said.

Rampal had shifted his base from Rohtak to Barwala town  of Hisar.
In July 2006, during a clash with villagers, thousands of his followers had gathered at his ashram and made it tough for police to arrest Rampal in a murder case.

Again in 2013, when they tried to take possession of his ashram at Karontha village in Rohtak district, a large number of followers went inside the ashram during the night and refused to leave which led to a clash in which two persons were killed and many others injured.