Gurmeet to hear verdict in scribe murder case in jail

Gurmeet to hear verdict in scribe murder case in jail

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. File photo

The verdict in the 16-year-old murder case of journalist Ramchandra Chhatrapati will be pronounced on Friday to accused Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim through video-conferencing inside jail, and not in the CBI courtroom.

The Haryana government in the election year, does not want a repeat of the widespread violence, arson and killings that took place in the state in 2017 after the sect chief was convicted for 20 years in two separate rape cases.

Special CBI court Judge Jagdeep Singh on Tuesday accepted the petition by the government that cited law and order concerns if the sect chief was brought out of the Sunaria jail in Rohtak, where he is currently lodged, to the Panchkula court on the verdict day.

Soon after the conviction of the sect chief on August 25, 2017, his followers indulged in widespread violence and arson in Panchkula and Sirsa, which resulted in the death of 42 people in police firing. The state apprehended a repeat of the 2017 violence, which is why an appeal against getting Gurmeet Ram Rahim to Panchkula on verdict day was made.

The CBI court on last Wednesday had directed Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh along with the other accused be produced in the court on Friday for the verdict. The other accused are presently out on bail.

Chhatrapati was shot at on October 24, 2002 in Sirsa after he published a report in the newspaper he owned — Poora Sach. Chhatrapati published an anonymous letter narrating the sexual exploits of women by the sect head at the Dera headquarters. The journalist later succumbed to injuries in the hospital. The case was registered in 2003 and handed over to the CBI in 2006.

In May 2018, rape convict Dera chief’s driver Khatta Singh had told the Panchkula CBI court that Ram Rahim had ordered the elimination of the journalist. Dera manager Krishan had given his licensed revolver to shooters to gun down the journalist.