Guwahati: Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and four others have been sentenced to life imprisonment in the murder of manager Ranjit Singh nearly two decades ago.
The four others are Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh, Avtar Singh and Sabdil.
Ram Rahim will also pay a ₹ 31 lakh fine. The other convicts will also pay fines – Abdil has been told to pay ₹ 1.5 lakh, Krishnan and Jasbir must pay ₹ 1.25 lakh each and Avtar must pay ₹ 75,000.
Fifty per cent of this amount will go to Ranjit Singh’s family.
A sixth accused in the case died a year ago.
Earlier this month the special CBI court in Haryana’s Panchkula found all five guilty.
Ram Rahim, who has been lodged in Sunaria Jail in Rohtak district since his 2017 conviction for the rape of two followers, appeared through video-conferencing; the others were present in the court.
Police had tightened security in Panchkula and Sirsa (where the sect is headquartered) in anticipation of possible violence after the court handed down its sentence.
However, the matter was deferred to today after counsel for the defence sought time to examine some of the arguments the prosecution had made during the sentencing hearing.
Ranjit Singh, who was the manager and also a follower of the sect, was shot dead in 2002.
He was murdered for his suspected role in the circulation of an anonymous letter that narrated how women were being sexually exploited by Ram Rahim.
According to the CBI’s charge sheet, Ram Rahim then hatched a conspiracy to kill him.
Apart from the 20-year sentence for the rape (handed down in 2017), Ram Rahim has also been given another life-term – this time for the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.
With input from PTI