Dera chief, 3 others awarded life imprisonment in Chhatrapati murder case
The CBI Special Court, Panchkula, on Thursday awarded life imprisonment to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in the journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati murder case.
Along with Ram Rahim, Dera manager Krishan Lal and carpenters at Dera -- Nirmal Singh and Kuldeep Singh -- were also awarded life imprisonment.
Special Judge Jagdeep Singh also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each on all the four accused.
Ram Rahim and other three accused - Kuldeep Singh, Nirmal Singh and Krishan Lal - were present in the court through video conferencing from Rohtak jail and Ambala jail, respectively.
It was Kuldeep Singh who had shot at Chhatrapati outside his house in Sirsa on the evening of October 24, 2002. Chhatrapati later succumbed to his injuries on November 21, 2002, at Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
Kuldeep Singh had come along with Nirmal Singh on a scooter.
Nirmal Singh had managed to flee on scooter but the police nabbed Kuldeep Singh on the spot. They revealed the name of Dera manager Krishan Lal who had provided his revolver to them.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had handed over the case to CBI on a petition by Anshul Chhatrapati, son of Ram Chander Chhatrapati, on November 10, 2003.
According to CBI, Ram Chander Chhatrapati was killed as Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was upset over news items in 'Poora Sach' newspaper, which he was running. In May,2002, Chhatrapati published a news item about the anonymous complaint of a Sadhvi regarding sexual exploitation of Sadhvis in Dera Sacha Sauda in the newspaper. From there onwards, he started receiving threats.
Former driver of Ram Rahim, Khatta Singh, had told the court that it was Dera chief who had ordered Chhatrapati's killing in front of him.
He told that on October 23, 2002, 'Poora Sach' had published a news item regarding the case of sexual exploitation of women followers. After reading the article, Ram Rahim got angry and told accused Krishan Lal, Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh to eliminate Chattrapati by any means. On hearing this, accused Krishan Lal went out of the cave of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and came back with his own revolver which he gave to Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh.
The CBI Special Court had earlier sentenced Ram Rahim for 20-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) on August 28, 2017, in a case of rape of two women followers. He had also been facing Ranjit Singh murder case before the same court where he is an accused along with Krishan Lal, Jasbir, Indersen, Avtaar and Sabdil. Ranjit Singh was murdered on July 10, 2002. The CBI has alleged that Ram Rahim suspected him to be behind the circulation of anonymous letter of a sadhvi alleging sexual exploitation of sadhvis at Dera.