Murder case against Ram Rahim: Defence concludes evidence, final arguments begin

Pallavi Singhal
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Ram Rahim is already serving a 20-year sentence in a rape case and a life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatarpati.

THE DEFENCE concluded its evidence in the Ranjit Singh murder case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and other accused Saturday before a Panchkula Court. The Special CBI Court earlier during the hearing rejected an application seeking adjournment on ground of pendency of a petition at Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking transfer of trial.

The trial is now at an advanced stage. On Saturday, the counsel representing the accused Ram Rahim produced documentary evidence as part of their defence after which the counsels representing the CBI were asked to address arguments — a final stage in the matter before passing of verdict. After arguments of the CBI counsels were heard, the matter was adjourned to December 20 for hearing of remaining arguments on behalf of the agency.

On December 10, the trial court had dismissed the application seeking the transfer. The application had contended that the judge had already convicted the Dera chief and others in two other cases based on similar evidence and the court was likely to hold the same view in the Ranjit murder case. CBI judge Jagdeep Singh, calling it a “frivolous application without any justified reason/cause”, had dismissed the same.

Accused Krishan Lal has moved a petition before the high court against the dismissal of his application on December 10 by the trial court. The case before the high court is listed for hearing on Monday. On Saturday, an application was moved before the CBI court for adjournment of the proceedings in light of pendency of the petition before high court. The same was opposed by the CBI counsels, who called it a “delaying tactic”.

“No reasonable ground exists to adjourn the matter without any justified cause,” ruled the court. A counsel representing the accused also himself conceded that there was no restraint order from the high court regarding conduct of proceedings in the case before trial court.

Former Dera manager Ranjit Singh was murdered in 2002. Apart from Ram Rahim, the accused included Avtar Singh, Inder Sain, Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh and Sabdil Singh. Ram Rahim is already serving a 20-year sentence in a rape case and a life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatarpati.

At present, he is facing trial in the Ranjit Singh murder case and another case pertaining to the alleged castration of a number of Dera followers.