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