MSG: Once cash-rich, Dera chief now earns Rs 40 a day

MSG: Once cash-rich, Dera chief now earns Rs 40 a day

The head of beleaguered Dera Sacha Sauda sect, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has managed to muster up a reserve of Rs 18,000 as wage money into his bank account ever since he has been locked up post his conviction in August 2017. (PTI File Photo)

Imprisoned two-years ago on August 26, controversial self-styled godman who was at the helm of affairs of a multi-billion empire today earns a daily wage of Rs 40 per day as a gardener in Haryana’s Sunaria jail.

The head of beleaguered Dera Sacha Sauda sect, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has managed to muster up a reserve of Rs 18,000 as wage money into his bank account ever since he has been locked up post his conviction in August 2017.

Behind bars, he is prisoner no. 8647. However many still address him as Baba.

The segregated compound in the jail where he has been kept along with only two other prisoners remains heavily fortified with multi-layered round-the-clock security due to threat perception to his life. In two-years, the sect chief, sources said, has shed 15 kgs of his weight, down from 105 kgs before his conviction.

Sources say that as a gardener, he tends to seasonal vegetables in the jail's kitchen garden. He has been provided with a water cooler in jail as per provisions in the rules. Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s family visits him every week. That is the time when he reportedly hands over his dirty linen to his family visitors and takes washed clothing for daily wear. 

The 50-year-old sect chief is serving a 20-year jail term after being convicted in two separate cases of raping his disciples. He has also been sentenced to life imprisonment over the murder of a journalist, which will start at the end of his twenty-year jail term.

Until 2017, the sect chief commanded a roaring business, from Bollywood productions (where he appeared in flashy lead roles) to consumer goods, theatre, mall, a high-end hotel, retail outlets, manufacturing units and more. Nothing is the same anymore.

The number of devotees visiting the Dera headquarters in Sirsa in Haryana has dipped substantially. The sect has preferred not to seek his replacement in his absence. Sermons recorded by the sect chief in good times are now played out during congregations.