Former Sacha Sauda driver deposes in murder case

Former Sacha Sauda driver deposes in murder case

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, file photo

A former driver of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has testified in court that a sect follower was killed on the directions of the self-styled godman.

Khatta Singh gave his testimony on the murder of a Dera follower Ranjit Singh at the special CBI court in Panchkula, said advocate Navkiran Singh who is representing him.

The Sacha Sauda chief was sentenced last year to 20 years in prison for raping two women followers, in a verdict which triggered violence in Haryana by his followers.

"In his statement, Khatta said the Dera chief issued directions for the killing of Ranjit Singh," the council said today.

Khatta told the court that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had ordered the elimination of Ranjit Singh on June 16, 2002. The murder took place on July 10.

The head of the Sirsa-based sect was named key conspirator in the killing.

The next hearing in the case is on May 15.

Khatta Singh earlier gave a statement against Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in 2007 but retracted it in 2012, allegedly under pressure from the godman and his "goons".

Ranjit Singh was killed for his suspected role in circulating an anonymous letter which alleged sexual exploitation of his disciples by Dera head at its headquarters in Sirsa, according to the prosecution.

Khatta Singh also deposed before the CBI court on May 5 in the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.

He had approached the CBI court last year after the Dera chief's conviction in the rape cases, seeking permission to record afresh his statements on the Ram Rahim's role in the two murder cases.

The CBI court had dismissed Khatta Singh's application for a fresh deposition. He then moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which allowed him to depose again.

Singh told the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2007 that he had information about a meeting between Ram Rahim and his men before Ranjit Singh's murder.