Tribune News Service
Panchkula, October 18
A special CBI court in Panchkula on Monday sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and four others — Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh, Avtar Singh and Sabdil Singh — to life imprisonment for murdering dera follower Ranjit Singh. The latter was shot dead on July 10, 2002, at his native Khanpur Kolian village in Kurukshetra.
Also read: Fear for family’s safety: Victim’s sister
The court slapped a Rs 31 lakh fine on Ram Rahim. Half of this amount will go to the victim’s family.
Sabdil was told to pay a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh, Krishan Lal and Jasbir Singh Rs 1.25 lakh each and Avtar Singh Rs 75,000. The victim’s son, Jagseer Singh, said he was happy with the verdict.
“My family fought a 19-year-long battle and had to go through a lot. We have finally got justice,” he said, speaking to the media outside the court. All convicts, except Ram Rahim, were present in person.
The Dera chief is serving a 20-year sentence at Rohtak’s Sunaria jail for raping two women disciples. CBI special prosecutor HPS Verma said Ram Rahim’s life sentence would run concurrently with the life term awarded to him in the journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati murder case in 2019. Verma and Senior Public Prosecutors DS Chawla and KP Singh had sought death penalty for the convicts. “The court maintained that the case did not fall in the category of rarest of rare,” Verma said. The dera chief had sought leniency in view of his contribution to social causes.
CBI pleaded for death
Although CBI prosecutors had sought death penalty for Gurmeet Ram Rahim and four other convicts during the arguments on quantum of sentence, the special CBI court handed them down life sentences, saying the case didn’t fall in the category of “rarest of the rare cases”.
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