A special CBI court is expected to deliver its judgement in the 2003 murder case of a journalist where Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is named as the main conspirator. A journalist, Ram Chander Chhatrapati, was murdered in 2002 after he reported on alleged sexual exploitation of women by Ram Rahim at Dera headquarters in Haryana. A case was registered in 2003.
According to reports, on 24th October 2002, Chhatrapati was allegedly shot at in Sirsa, where Dera headquarters are, by two carpenters who were Dera followers. He had been writing extensively on Dera’s growth and the wrongdoings being carried on in the Dera.
Publishing of an anonymous letter in his evening daily ‘Poora Sach’ which highlighted the plight of the women who were sexually abused by Gurmeet Ram Rahim led to his murder. Ram Rahim’s former driver Khatta Singh had earlier said that it was the Dera chief who had ordered Chhatrapati’s killing. The CBI filed a charge sheet in 2007 with Khatta Singh as a key witness.
In 2017, Panchkula’s special CBI court held Dera Sacha Sauda chief guilty of rape cases filed by two sadhvis in 2002. Following the verdict, Dera followers took to violence in Haryana and as per initial reports, 17 protestors were killed in police firing whereas over 200 were injured. Even more were detained in an attempt to contain violence. He is currently serving 20 years jail sentence after being held guilty for rape and criminal intimidation.
Security is tightened in Panchkula, Rohtak, Sirsa and parts of Haryana and Punjab ahead of the verdict.