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Punjab and Haryana HC acquits Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in 2002 murder case

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday acquitted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in the murder case of a former Dera official. A member of the Dera’s state-level committee, Ranjit Singh was shot dead in 2002. 

It is said that the murder was linked to his suspected role in circulating an anonymous letter that narrated how Ram Rahim was sexually exploiting women at the Dera headquarters in Haryana’s Sirsa.

A CBI court in 2021 convicted Ram Rahim and four others in the murder case and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The court had noted that it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Dera chief was aggrieved by the circulation of the letter and conspired with the other accused to kill Ranjit Singh. Subsequently, the 56-year-old Dera chief had challenged this conviction in the high court. 

The Dera chief is in custody after being convicted of raping two sadhvis at the dera and in the murder case of journalist Ram Chander Prajapati, who had reported extensively on the sexual assault allegations against the influential Dera chief.

A decade after the investigation began, the Dera chief in 2014 claimed he was impotent, but the court rejected this. His conviction in 2017 sparked violence and arson in several areas. Notably, thirty people died, over 250 injured and the Army had to be called in to bring the situation under control. 

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