Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who is already in jail for rape charges, was on Friday convicted of the murder of his disciple, Ranjit Singh by special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Haryana’s Panchkula. The court also convicted four others in the case and said that the quantum of sentence will be pronounced on October 12.
Ranjit Singh, a former follower of Ram Rahim, was shot dead by four assailants on July 10, 2002, at his native Khanpur Kolian village in Kurukshetra. As per the CBI, he was murdered as Ram Rahim suspected that he was behind the circulation of an anonymous letter highlighting the sexual exploitation of female disciples on the Dera premises.
Ram Rahim was sentenced in August 2017 to 20 years of imprisonment in connection with raping two of his women followers and the murder of a journalist. He is currently lodged in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail serving a life term.
There are mainly three cases of the period 2002-03 registered against the Sirsa-based Dera chief. In two cases, one related to sexual exploitation of female disciples and the second of the murder of a journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati, Ram Rahim has been convicted. The third case is of Ranjit Singh’s murder. Earlier this month, the Punjab and Haryana high court dismissed a plea seeking transfer of trial in the Ranjit Singh murder case terming the allegations imaginary and based on surmises and conjectures.
The high court bench observed that on mere apprehension trial cannot be transferred and that apprehension must be reasonable and not imaginary. The power of transfer is to be sparingly exercised. Thus, the trial court was granted the power to pronounce judgment, which it exercised on Friday convicting Ram Rahim and four others in the Rajit Singh murder case.