Operation to arrest Rampal cost over Rs 26 crore

Operation to arrest Rampal cost over Rs 26 crore

The massive operation to locate and arrest controversial 'godman' Rampal cost the exchequer over Rs 26 crore, the Punjab and Haryana High Court was today told.

Amidst tight security, Rampal was produced before a division bench of justices M Jeyapaul and Darshan Singh here which adjourned the case to December 23 when Rampal would be produced along with co-accused Ram Pal Dhaka and O P Hooda.

Haryana DGP S N Vashisht submitted a detailed report of the operation at Satlok Ashram at Barwala in Hisar leading to the arrest of Rampal after large-scale violence.

The states of Haryana and Punjab besides the Chandigarh Administration and Union of India submitted reports of the expenditure incurred in connection with the operation to arrest Rampal for production in the High Court in the contempt case.

As per the figures presented by the states, Haryana spent Rs 15.43 crore on locating and arresting Rampal, Punjab Rs 4.34 crore, Chandigarh Administration Rs 3.29 crore and Union of India Rs 3.55 crore, totaling Rs 26.61 crore

The bench asked the Director General of Police (DGP), Haryana, to submit medical report of those injured.

The court also asked the police to verify the antecedents of 909 arrested in connection with the violence at Satlok Ashram at Barwala for arresting Rampal.

Police have been asked to ascertain whether any of those arrested had retired from the police or were ex-servicemen or were serving in the police and related agencies.

63-year-old Rampal was arrested on November 19 after a two-week tense standoff between his supporters and the police after close to 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from the sprawling premises.

During the standoff between Rampal's followers and the police, five women and a child had died, while more than 200 people were injured in the clashes.

The High Court had on November 5 cancelled the bail of Rampal in a 2006 murder case after he failed to appear in the High Court.

The division bench had posted the matter for hearing today with a direction to the Haryana Police chief to file an affidavit giving details of the operation carried out to arrest Rampal from his ashram in Barwala along with damage, injuries to people, details regarding arms and ammunition in the ashram and loss of property.

Rampal, against whom the High Court had issued non-bailable warrant in the contempt case, had failed to appear before it on three dates - November 5, 10 and 17.

The court had suo moto taken up the issue of cancellation of bail on November 10 when Rampal failed to appear in the contempt case. He was arrested by Haryana Police on November 19 from his 12-acre Satlok Ashram.

The 'godman' was produced before the High Court on November 20 a day after his arrest in the contempt of court case.

He was later remanded to five day police custody by a local court after fresh cases, including of sedition, arson and obstructing public servants from performing duty, were slapped on him which was subsequently extended by six days.
So far, more than 900 followers of Rampal have been arrested on various charges.

Besides sedition and other charges, fresh FIRs including that of murder were also registered against Rampal.

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