Dera Sacha Sauda chief and convicted rapist, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, has filed an appeal against the special CBI court order in the Punjab & Haryana High Court on Monday.
Singh was convicted of raping two of his disciples by the special CBI court in Haryana’s Panchkula on August 25.
The CBI court found Singh guilty of rape (under IPC section 376) and criminal intimidation (under IPC 506) in both the cases. At the end of hearing on the quantum of punishment, the court decided to award Singh 10 years in jail in each of the two cases, thus, taking the total punishment to 20 years.
The punishment for both the offences will run consecutively, i.e., one after the after. The godman was also sentenced to four years in jail for criminal intimidation, the term for which will run concurrently with the 20-year-sentence.
“Since they were two separate cases, the punishment for them cannot run concurrently [or simultaneously]. However the punishment for rape and criminal intimidation will run concurrently in each case,” clarified a legal officer who had observed the proceedings.
The case is based on the complaints of two sadhvis who accused Singh of raping them in 1999. Singh has denied all the charges and has maintained he is innocent. Singh is currently lodged in Rohtak’s Sunaria Jail.
Apart from the rape case, he is also on trial in a case related to the killings of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh. Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after his newspaper, ‘Poora Sach’, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters. Ranjit was shot dead in July 2002. According to the prosecution, he was murdered for his suspected role in circulating the anonymous letter which made the allegations of sexual exploitation against the Dera chief.
As carried N18 on 25.9.17