Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and three others have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the killing of journalist Ram Chander Chhatarpati. The special CBI court in Panchkula pronounced the quantum of sentence on Thursday. A fine of Rs 50,000 each has also been imposed by the Court.
The sect chief along with three of Dera's followers namely Kuldeep Singh, Nirmal Singh, and Krishan Lal was convicted for the death of the Sirsa-based scribe by the special court on January 11. In its chargesheet against the accused, India's premier investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) indicated how the order to murder Chhatrapati was known to the sect chief. Carpenters with the Dera, Nirmal and Kuldeep Singh were given a walkie-talkie and a gun, which belonged to Krishan Lal, said the investigating officials.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Panchkula and Sirsa -- headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect headed by self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh -- and other parts of Haryana to maintain law and order situation, officials said. Security has also been stepped up outside the Panchkula court complex with Haryana police putting up barricades on roads leading to the court.
The convicts -- Ram Rahim and three others -- will appear through video conference when the quantum of punishment will be pronounced.