Dera Sacha Sauda chief exempted from appearance in HC

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday, while granting exemption to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh from personal appearance before the CBI special court, Panchkula, in a rape case of 2002 against him, ordered recording of his statement through video-conferencing.

The dera chief was to appear in person on February 1 for recording of statement under section 313 of CrPC in a rape case as per the order of CBI special court, Panchkula. The CBI special court on September 17 last year had dismissed an application of police for allowing the recording of statement of dera chief through video conferencing; against this, the police approached the high court.

The police’s petition had mentioned security threat to Ram Rahim and had prayed that he should be allowed to record his statement through video conferencing. Ram Rahim had also approached the high court that he should be allowed to submit his written submission before the court in place of his personal appearance. However, CBI’s special prosecutor Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu contended before the court headed by justice RC Gupta that if Ram Rahim is exexpted from personal appearance it would set a wrong precedence and when the state police could take care of law and order during Ram Rahim’s presence at various functions, it could ensure the same in court.

There are two rape victims in the case.

In 2002, anonymous letters addressed to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and chief justice of the high court were circulated alleging sexual exploitation of female followers in Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa.

The HC had ordered then Sirsa sessions judge to look into it who gave his report on September 3, 2002, that possibility of sexual exploitation could not be ruled out.

Source: HT

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