There were more trouble in store for the rapist baba, Gurmeet Singh, as his former driver, Khatta Singh, on Saturday filed an application to record a fresh statement.
Khatta Singh’s counsel Navkiran Singh claimed that his client had retracted in 2012 from a statement he had given in 2007 under pressure. The court will now hear Khatta Singh’s application on next Friday.
Meanwhile, amidst considerable media spotlight, final arguments in two murder cases against Gurmeet began in a special CBI court on Saturday, nearly a fortnight after the rapist baba was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two of his followers.
Police are still searching for his so-called adopted daughter, Honeypreet Singh, who was also his alleged sex partner inside the Dera, spread over 700 acres.
The disgraced cult leader, reportedly appeared via video-conferencing before the special CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh, who is hearing the cases of murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh.
Gurmeet is alleged to have masterminded the murder of the journalist after he carried the anonymous letter of the alleged rape victim in his newspaper ‘poora sach.’ It was only after the letter carrying the gory detail of the rapist baba’s sexual escapades inside his ashram appeared in his newspaper, that the authorities took notice of the severity of the crime.
According to CBI counsel HPS Verma, during the proceedings today, the prosecution “read out evidences”. He said the court had decided to take up both the cases separately.
“The court will hear the final arguments in Dera manager Ranjit Singh’s murder case on a day-to-day basis from September 18, while the Chhatrapati murder case will be taken up on September 22,” Verma was quoted by PTI.
Journalist Chhatrapati had to pay a heavy price for his bravery and honest journalism as he was shot at in October 2002, a few days after he published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters.
His murder took place few months after Ranjit was shot dead in July 2002. According to the prosecution, he was murdered for his suspected role in circulating an anonymous letter which made allegations of sexual exploitation against the Dera chief.
Defence counsel SK Garg Narwana told reporters outside the court that “Ram Rahim Singh appeared through video- conferencing from Sunaria jail.”
Contingents of paramilitary and the Haryana Police were deployed in Panchkula as security arrangements were tightened ahead of the hearing. On 25 August, after the special CBI court convicted Ram Rahim of rape, violence had erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa in which 41 people died.