Panchkula CBI Court Convicts Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in the 2002 murder case of Journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati.
On October 24, 2002, journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati was allegedly shot at in Sirsa by two carpenters who were Dera followers. Chhatrapati died in November, after being treated at a hospital for few days. All four, including Ram Rahim are convicted for the murder.
Chhatrapati had written extensively about the growth of Dera into a powerful empire using wrong methods. He had published an anonymous letter in his evening-daily 'Poora Sach' that highlighted the plight of women sexually abused by the Dera chief after which he was killed.
A former driver of Ram Rahim, Khatta Singh had earlier told that the sect chief had ordered the killing of the journalist. The CBI filed a charge sheet in the murder case in July 2007. The driver was one of the most important witnesses of CBI.
The 51-year-old self-styled godman is currently serving a 20-year jail term in Sunaria jail at Rohtak for raping two of his women disciples.
Incidents of widespread violence were reported in Panchkula and Sirsa in August 2017 when the Dera chief was convicted in the rape case. More than 40 people were killed and over 200 injured.
With tightened security, Panchkula district is on high alert today. Additional troops have been deployed to maintain the law and order situation.
Around 500 police personnel have been deployed around the premises of the court, Kamaldeep Goel DCP Panchkula told ANI. Heavy barricading has also been put in place.
The special CBI court on Tuesday gave consent to Haryana government plea to allow Rahim Singh to appear for the verdict through video conferencing.