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Hearing in the murder case of former Dera Sacha Sauda manager Ranjit Singh which allegedly involved sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will be held on day to day basis in a special CBI court here from September 18. A special CBI court here today held a hearing in two cases of murder, that of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and the killing of Ranjit Singh. Disgraced Dera chief Ram Rahim Singh, who is lodged in Rohtak's Sunaria jail for raping two disciples, appeared via video-conferencing in the court of judge Jagdeep Singh. He has been named as the main conspirator in both cases. The Dera chief's former driver, Khatta Singh, also approached the court seeking to record a fresh statement, his counsel Navkiran Singh said. The court will hear his application on September 22. During the day-long proceedings today, the prosecution "read out evidences", CBI counsel H P S Verma told reporters outside the court. He said that the court decided to take up the two cases separately. The court will hear the final arguments in former Dera manager Ranjit Singh's murder case on a day to day basis from September 18, while Chhatrapati's murder case will be taken up on September 22, he said. "The defence submitted many applications, including summoning of witnesses again in the court. The prosecution will give replies to these on September 22," he said. Defence counsel S K Garg Narwana told reporters outside the court that "Ram Rahim Singh appeared through video-conferencing from Sunaria jail." The CBI judge had granted permission for video- conferencing yesterday after Panchkula DCP Manbir Singh moved an application, contending that they cannot bring the Dera chief in person due to law and order problem. The arguments in the case were held under thick blanket of security. Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after a newspaper owned by him, 'Poora Sach', published an anonymous letter narrating how women were being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters. Ranjit was shot dead in July 2002.
According to the prosecution, he was murdered for his suspected role in circulating an anonymous letter which made allegations of sexual exploitation against the Dera chief. On August 25, after the CBI court convicted Ram Rahim for raping two of his female disciples, violence erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa in which 41 people died. The court sentenced him to 20 years in prison on August 28.
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