Godman fails to appear before HC, taken to undisclosed place

Godman fails to appear before HC, taken to undisclosed place

Controversial godman Rampal was today whisked away from his ashram here to an undisclosed destination for "treatment", his supporters today claimed hours after he again failed to appear before Punjab and Haryana High Court and sought more time citing illhealth.

With his followers resisting his arrest, Rampal did not appear in the High Court today, the deadline set for his appearance in a contempt case, with his counsel saying he was "unwell".

Hours later, Ashram spokesman Raj Kapoor claimed that 63-year-old Rampal was taken to a hospital at an undisclosed place for medical treatment.

Declining to disclose the name of the hospital or the city, he said, "We were facing problem in treating him as the administration had stopped all supplies, including of medicines, to the ashram."

"We were left with no option but to shift him to a hospital at an undisclosed place."
The Haryana government, meanwhile, told the two-judge HC bench that it is taking steps to comply with the court order but it has to take every step carefully as a number of women and children were present in the godman's ashram in Hisar district here.

The court reserved its verdict till afternoon today.

The High Court had on Monday last pulled up the Haryana government for failing to produce the godman, against whom a non-bailable warrant was issued recently in a contempt case. It had set a deadline of today for his production.

Rampal's counsel S K Garg told the bench, comprising Justices M Jeyapaul and Darshan Singh, that the godman was "unwell" and not in a position to travel from Barwala to here.

"He is unwell.... We are not avoiding court appearance. He has been appearing on past occasions. Give us some time, once he feels better, he will appear," the counsel told the Bench.

On behalf of the state government, Home Secretary and the DGP appeared before the court. Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan told the court that the state was taking steps to comply with the court order.

He pleaded that since a number of women and children were present at the Satlok Ashram in Barwala, where the godman is present, the police and administration had to take every step carefully.

With regard to the issue of cancellation of Rampal's bail in the 2006 murder case, the bench posted the matter for tomorrow asking the defence counsel to file their reply by then.

A large number of his supporters, including women and children, remained on guard inside and outside the Ashram around which security personnel, including those of the central Para military forces have also been deployed in strength.

Earlier in the morning, his spokesman said that the self-styled Godman Rampal remained "unwell" and would not travel to Chandigarh.

"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," Kapoor said here.

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