A special CBI court in Haryana's Panchkula on Monday awarded life imprisonment to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and four others in the 2002 Ranjit Singh murder case.
Ranjit Singh, who was also a follower of the sect, was murdered on July 10, 2002. A resident of Khanpur Kolian village in Kurukshetra, Ranjit Singh was working in the fields of his village when he was shot dead. He was murdered for his suspected role in the circulation of an anonymous letter, which narrated how women were being sexually exploited by Ram Rahim.
The CBI had registered the said case on the orders passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2003 and then it took over the investigation of the case which was earlier registered at Police Station Sadar, Thanesar in Kurukshetra. After investigating the case for four years, the CBI filed a chargesheet in July 2007 against six accused and charges were framed in December 2008. During the pendency of the trial, one accused died last year and trial proceedings were abated against him.
Ram Rahim Singh is currently serving 20 years' rigorous imprisonment for the rape of two women followers at Rohtak's Sunaria jail. He was also convicted for life for the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chattrapati.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had sought death sentence for Ram Rahim. The special CBI court had convicted Ram Rahim and four others on October 8 in the murder case. The CBI plea was that Ranjit Singh was murdered as Ram Rahim suspected that he was behind the circulation of an anonymous letter that revealed the sexual exploitation of woman followers at the dera.
Ram Rahim's conviction on August 25, 2017, in raping his two disciples had led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa, leaving 41 people dead and over 260 injured. Ram Rahim was patronised by political leaders and parties in Punjab and Haryana for nearly two decades due to his ability to influence the votes of his followers.