Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh has been found guilty of charges against him in the 15 year prolonged rape case. The Special CBI Court in Panchkula, Haryana has held the Dera head guilty on the charges filed in 2008 subsequent to which he has taken into judicial custody immediately. The quantum of his sentence will be announced on Monday, 28th August, 2017.
The CBI court delivered its verdict against the Dera chief 14 long years after the alleged incident took place, amid unprecedented security. Thousands of Dera followers gathered in Panchkula ahead of the judgment, in support of their Head.
About the Case -
14 years ago, in 2002, the Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo motu cognizance - an action on its own - after a sadhvi's letter to the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The High Court directed the CBI to register a sexual exploitation case against the Dera Head. The case was then handed over to the CBI for further investigation.
The investigating agency questioned 18 sadhvis and two of them levelled allegations of rape against the spiritual leader. The CBI filed a chargesheet in this matter on July 30, 2007, in the CBI special court. The trial against Gurmeet Ram Rahim (Dera Chief) commenced in 2008. On September 6, 2008, he was charged under Section 376 (rape) and Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
The Dera chief has consistently called the charges false and baseless. He has told the court that he is "not capable of" engaging in physical relations, thereby negating all the charges against him, calling them to be baseless and frivolous.
The godman-turned-actor now faces minimum of 10 years in jail since the victim was a minor at the time of the sexual assault.
The Chief is also facing trial in two separate murder cases- those of Dera follower Ranjit Singh and of journalist Ram Chander Chattrapati.
Updates following the verdict -
On Friday, The Dera Head was present in court when the judgment was read out. Following which thousands of followers of Ram Rahim, went on the rampage, damaging public and private properties - setting fire to vehicles, buildings and railway stations.
The Police, to this, responded by open fire.
The unrest which began in Panchkula where the verdict was handed down. It quickly spread to other parts of Haryana and Punjab and even New Delhi.
Curfew was clamped in Mansa, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Patiala, Sangrur and Barnala and Faridkot, the areas considered as stronghold of the Dera followers.
The Dera followers have the entry country perturbed with their outbursts and violent reaction to the verdict given by the Special Court!
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