Four po­lice of­fi­cers ar­rested for plot­ting In­dian guru’s es­cape from rape trial

The Daily Telegraph - - World News - By Sap­tarshi Ray in New Delhi

FOUR In­dian po­lice of­fi­cers have been ar­rested over a sus­pected con­spir­acy to help the guru of a re­li­gious sect flee a court in the city of Panchkula, where he was sen­tenced to 20 years im­pris­on­ment for the rape of two fol­low­ers.

De­tec­tives from the north In­dian state of Haryana ar­rested five peo­ple, in­clud­ing the four of­fi­cers, for al­legedly plan­ning to aid the es­cape of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the 50-year-old head of the Dera Sacha Sauda ashram, af­ter his con­vic­tion last month.

Singh is of­ten re­ferred to as the “Guru of Bling” or “God Man” and has thou­sands of fol­low­ers across In­dia. The end of his trial led to ri­ot­ing that left 38 peo­ple dead and 200 in­jured.

Three Haryana po­lice com­man­dos were ar­rested in Panchkula, and a Ra­jasthan po­lice of­fi­cer, Om Prakash, was held in the city of Hanu­man­garh. The com­man­dos were named as Amit Ku­mar and Ra­jesh Ku­mar, both head con­sta­bles and Ra­jesh Ku­mar, a con­sta­ble.

A S Chawla, the Panchkula po­lice com­mis­sioner, said: “Three ar­rested Haryana po­lice com­man­dos, along with other po­lice per­son­nel from Pun­jab, Chandi­garh and Ra­jasthan, were found present in Panchkula on Au­gust 25. They were in Panchkula in po­lice uni­form.

“The three po­lice com­man­dos could not give a sat­is­fac­tory reply as to why they came to Panchkula on that day.”

A fifth per­son, Di­lawar In­saan, was also ar­rested over the case. Af­ter Singh was found guilty, at least five of the seven of­fi­cers guard­ing him al­legedly tried to free him. They were ar­rested and charged with sedi­tion. As­signed as Singh’s se­cu­rity de­tail, it is al­leged they be­came his fol­low­ers over the years.

Se­cu­rity has been in­creased in Panchkula ahead of two sep­a­rate mur­der cases against Singh and oth­ers com­ing to court. They re­late to the killing of jour­nal­ist Ram Chan­der Ch­ha­tra­p­ati and the for­mer Dera man­ager Ran­jit Singh, al­legedly by fol­low­ers of the guru. They will be heard in the same court that con­victed Singh.

There are no re­ports of fol­low­ers con­gre­gat­ing, un­like dur­ing the leadup to the rape trial when more than 100,000 of them came to the city.

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