Will testify against dera chief: Driver
Says he had earlier been coerced to change his testimony in a murder case to help the cult leader
PANCHKULA: A former driver of cult leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh wants to testify against him in a murder case, telling judges who are hearing the case that he had earlier been coerced to change his testimony to help the Dera Sacha Sauda chief.
Singh was jailed last month for raping two women at the sprawling campus of the cult in Sirsa, a conviction that triggered widespread violence from his followers. His following had earned him considerable wealth and political power, which many saw as factors that helped him evade the law.
In addition to the rapes, Singh is accused of murdering two men — a journalist and a cult follower. The journalist who was killed is credited with exposing the rapes.
The CBI has said that both were killed because they wanted to expose crimes being committed at the cult’s headquarters, which is spread over 700 acres.
The application of Singh’s former driver coincided on Saturday with the start of the closing arguments in the trials. He has been named as the main conspirator in the deaths of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and dera member Ranjit Singh. Both murders were reported in 2002.
Singh is in a prison in Rohtak and appeared by video conference for the proceedings at a court in Panchkula.
“He behaved normally and did not complain of anything. He
rarely looked up,” sources who were part of the hearing said.
“Today, CBI argued on statements of 31 witnesses out of total 60 in Ranjit murder case. The arguments will continue on Monday as well. As of the Ram Chander Chhatrapati case, final arguments will commence on September 22,” Singh’s lawyer SK Garg Narwana said.
The cases are in the final stages and the court asked the defence and prosecution lawyers for their reaction on the former driver’s plea, which is to be taken on September 22.
The driver, Khatta Singh, had initially testified against Singh in 2007 but changed his version in 2012.
Khatta Singh claimed he was living in the dera when the crimes were committed and had “personal knowledge” about the circumstances of the murders.
Meanwhile, Haryana Police arrested on Friday the driver of Honeypreet Kaur, the controversial adopted daughter of Singh. Pradeep Kumar was detained from near the religious town of Salasar in Rajasthan.
In addition to the rapes, Gurmeet Ram Rahim is accused of murdering two men — a journalist and a cult follower.