Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim and four others have been sentenced to life imprisonment in Ranjit Singh’s murder case by a special CBI court in Panchkula in Haryana. A fine of Rs 31 lakh has been levied on Gurmeet Ram Rahim and Rs 50,000 on the other four accused.
Former dera manager Ranjit Singh, who was a follower of the sect, was shot dead in 2002. He was allegedly murdered for his suspected role in the circulation of an anonymous letter which narrated how women were being sexually exploited by the dera head.
According to the CBI charge sheet, the dera chief believed that Ranjit Singh was behind the circulation of the anonymous letter and hatched a conspiracy to kill him.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim, currently in jail, and the others accused in the case including Jasbir Singh, Sabdil, Avtar Singh, Krishan Lal and late Inder Sen were convicted on 8 October. On 12 October, the sentencing was deferred by the special CBI court till 18 October.
The six had been booked under sections 302 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code. Two of the accused, Jasbir and Sabdil, also faced charges under sections of the Arms Act as they had allegedly shot him dead in Kurukshetra in Haryana. The charges were framed in 2007.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is currently serving a 20-year jail term for raping two of his women disciples in his “ashram”. He was convicted in August 2017 by a special CBI court in Panchkula.
In 2019, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and three others were pronounced guilty of the murder of journalist Ramchandra Chhatrapati, who had published an anonymous letter about the sexual exploitation of women by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief at his ashram.