Tribune News Service
Panchkula, October 12
A special CBI court in Panchkula on Tuesday deferred the quantum of sentence to October 18 against the Dera chief and four other convicts in the murder case of a sect follower, Ranjit Singh.
During the hours-long arguments, the CBI sought death penalty for Ram Rahim, who, in turn, appealed for mercy in view of his work towards social causes.
While the prosecution concluded its arguments (which included Supreme court judgements), the defence counsels, excluding convict Avtar Singh’s lawyer PK Sandhir (who addressed arguments), requested “short adjournment to advance their arguments on the quantum of sentence as the case laws cited by prosecution are to be gone through by them”.
The court entertained request and adjourned the quantum to October 18.
Special CBI prosecutor HPS Verma said the CBI reserved its order on the sentencing for October 18 on a request filed by the defence counsels seeking time to file a counter to the CBI arguments.
He said, ‘’We have sought maximum punishment under 302 (murder) of the IPC against Ram Rahim as he is a previous convict in two cases” he said, adding that he (Dera chief) through an eight-page statement submitted before the court, pleaded for leniency because of the charity work by the dera such as tree plantations, eye camps, and relief material sent to flood and quake-hit areas.
The defence counsels will conclude their counter arguments on the next day of the hearing following which the court is expected to pronounce quantum.
Jagsheer Singh, the son of victim Ranjit Singh, also appeared before the court and requested it to “award severe punishment to the convicts and compensation to him and his family”.
Ram Rahim was produced from Rohtak’s Sunaria jail, via video conferencing, while four other convicts were physically present in the court.
Ram Rahim is already serving a 20-year jail term for raping his two disciples, and life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.
On October 8, the court of special CBI judge, Dr Sushil Kumar Garg, had convicted Ram Rahim, Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh, Avtar Singh and Sabdil Singh under Section 302 and 120-B.
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