28 May 2024

Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Acquitted In Dera Official Murder Case, Will Be in Jail for Rape of Sadhvis and Murder of Scribe

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court today acquitted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in the murder case of former Dera official Ranjit Singh. Singh, a member of the Dera's state-level committee, was shot dead in 2002. It was alleged that his murder was linked to his suspected role in circulating an anonymous letter accusing Ram Rahim of sexually exploiting women at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa, Haryana.

In 2021, a CBI court convicted Ram Rahim and four others in the murder case, sentencing them to life imprisonment. The special court had concluded that it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that Ram Rahim, aggrieved by the letter's circulation, conspired with the other accused to kill Ranjit Singh. The 56-year-old Dera chief challenged this conviction in the high court, which today acquitted him and the four others convicted by the CBI court. 

Dera Chief will not be released now as he is also convicted of raping two sadhvis at the Dera and in the murder case of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, who had reported extensively on the sexual assault allegations against him.

Dera Sacha Sauda had garnered significant attention following shocking allegations of sexual assault against Gurmeet Ram Rahim, leading to a CBI investigation. In 2014, a decade after the investigation began, the Dera chief claimed he was impotent, but the court rejected this assertion. 

His 2017 conviction sparked widespread violence and arson, resulting in 30 deaths, over 250 injuries, and necessitating the Army's intervention to restore order. Ram Rahim is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence and has challenged his conviction in the high court.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim's lawyers welcomed today's high court judgment, stating that the Dera chief has complete faith in the judiciary.

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