"Koi mujhe bacha lo
(somebody save me)," jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh reportedly pleaded after being handed a combined 20-year sentence
for raping two women followers. Rahim could need a saviour after all given the pending cases against him. According to the Economic Times
, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will submit its final arguments in the two murder cases against the Dera chief on September 16.
According to reports, there are three pending cases against the Dera chief — two murder cases and another involving the alleged castration of 400 Dera followers at the sect’s Sirsa headquarters.
Murder cases hanging fire on flamboyant baba
The verdict in the two murder cases, which are in the court, could be pronounced soon after the final arguments from CBI
and Ram Rahim’s lawyers, the ET
report said. In fact, according to the report, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had last month set a three-month deadline for the conclusion of the Ram Chander Chhatrapati murder trial by the special CBI
Details of the murder cases
Chhatrapati, a journalist who wrote extensively about the activities of the Dera, was shot from point-blank range right outside his house on October 24, 2002, according to an IndiaToday
report that details the struggle of the journalist's son to get justice for his father.
According to the report, Chhatrapati was killed months after he published the anonymous letter written by an anonymous Sadhvi addressed to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee accusing the Dera chief of rape. It was this letter that set off the chain of events leading to the Dera Chief's sentencing on Monday.
The other case is regarding the murder of Dera follower Ranjit Singh. According to the Indian Express
, Singh's family has alleged that he was killed because he was suspected of being involved in the aforementioned anonymous letter. Singh was murdered on July 10, 2002.
Rape conviction strengthens CBI's case
The Dera chief's conviction in the two rape cases also places the odds against him. Citing sources from the investigative agency, the ET
report explained that the guilty verdict in those cases would be used by the CBI
to argue Ram Rahim's antecedents. "Antecedents of an accused hold prime importance during a trial. If an accused is found to have doubtful antecedents the case against him is strengthened...," a top CBI
official told the financial daily.