Contingents of paramilitary troops and the Haryana Police have been deployed in Panchkula town in Haryana ahead of a crucial hearing in two separate murder cases against Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and others on Saturday.The cases, related to the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh, allegedly committed by functionaries and followers of the sect in 2002 will be held in the court of special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh. The same court had, on August 25, convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on two counts of rape of the dera’s female disciples.
“The final arguments in the two murders cases will start tomorrow,” informed the CBI counsel H P S Verma.
Notably, the rape convict Ram Rahim will not be physically produced in the CBI special court on Saturday as the hearing will take place through video conferencing as Ram Rahim is lodged in the District Jail in Sunaria near Rohtak.Still having witnessed large-scale violence following his conviction in the two rape cases on August 25, in which about 38 people were killed and 264 injured in Panchkula and Sirsa, the Haryana government this time don’t want to take any chance.
Haryana director general of police (DGP) BS Sandhu said that adequate paramilitary and Haryana Police personnel had been stationed around the court complex in Sector 1 in Panchkula and other areas in Panchkula town to maintain law and order.He also claimed that there were no reports of the Dera followers assembling in Panchkula ahead of Saturday’s hearing, unlike the rape case hearing where over one lakh followers had converged in the town.
Know the cases:
Sirsa-based journalist Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after the evening newspaper ‘Poora Sach’, owned by him, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were allegedly being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. He died later.The second case relates to the murder of former Dera manager Ranjit Singh who was allegedly shot dead in 2002. He was murdered for his suspected role in the circulation of the anonymous letter, which had made the sexual exploitation allegations, according to the prosecution
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had in November 2003 ordered a CBI probe into the murder of Chhatrapati and Ranjit Singh after the families of both the victims approached the court. The CBI had filed the charge sheet in the murder cases on July 30, 2007.
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