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As his sentence was being pronounced by the judge in a CBI court here on Monday, convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh stood with folded hands in the courtroom and, upon learning his fate, broke down.
Ram Rahim is known as the 'Guru of Bling' due his penchant for flashy outfits. Today, however, he was attired in a white kurta-pyjama with matching white shoes as the judge sentenced him to 20 years in jail, a CBI counsel said.
"It took the judge just a minute to pronounce the quantum of sentence," the counsel said. "He kept standing silently with folded hands and even cried."
The court sentenced the Dera chief to imprisonment of 10 years each in two rape cases, and imposed a fine of Rs 15 lakh in each case.
The sentences will run consecutively, resulting in imprisonment of 20 years and fine of Rs 30 lakh.
Besides CBI judge Jagdeep Singh, three defence counsels, and an equal number of CBI advocates were present.
The CBI counsel said the court proceedings started at 2.30 pm.
Initially the defence lawyers read out citations followed by the CBI for ten minutes each.
While the defence sought leniency in the prison term on grounds of Ram Rahim's health and social work, the CBI pressed for maximum sentence. "By 3 pm the judge had heard the defence and prosecution," the CBI counsel said.
A special courtroom was set up in the library of Sunaria jail, in the outskirts of Rhotak city, amid tight security arrangements.
The judge of the CBI court in Panchkula was flown in via achopper to pronounce the quantum of sentence to the Dera chief who convicted on Friday in the 15-year old rape case.
After his conviction, the sect chief's followers went on the rampage in Panchkula and Sirsa. 38 people died and over 260 were injured. The violence also spilled over to neighbouring Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.