Rohtak: Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh will serve 20 years in jail, and not 10 years, as punishment for raping two of his followers. He was also fined Rs 30 lakh.
The CBI court found Singh guilty of rape (under IPC section 376) and criminal intimidation (under IPC 506) in both the cases. At the end of hearing on the quantum of punishment on Monday, the court decided to award Singh 10 years in jail in each of the two cases, thus, taking the total punishment to 20 years.
The punishment for both the offences will run consecutively, i.e., one after the after. The godman was also sentenced to four years in jail for criminal intimidation, the term for which will run concurrently with the 20-year-sentence.
“Since they were two separate cases, the punishment for them cannot run concurrently [or simultaneously]. However the punishment for rape and criminal intimidation will run concurrently in each case,” clarified a legal officer who had observed the proceedings.
The main defence counsel for Singh, senior High Court advocate SK Garg Narwana, said that they had appealed to the CBI judge to show some leniency to the DSS chief in view of his age and his status of social worker.
“We requested the CBI to show some leniency to our client in view of his advanced age [50 years] and because of his popularity and humanitarian work he's done for the society," Narwana told News 18. He added that his he and his team will appeal against CBI court's decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The CBI judge also ordered Singh to pay Rs 30 lakh as compensation, of which Rs 14 lakh will be paid to each of the victims, and Rs 2 lakh will go to the state.
Later during the day, the Haryana Home Secretary and a CBI spokesperson also confirmed the total quantum of punishment for Ram Rahim Singh is 20 years.
Singh was reportedly in tears as the order was being pronounced by special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh and pleaded for leniency with folded hands. Hearing in the case had started at 2.30 pm and both sides were given 10 minutes to present their cases.
According to sources present in the court, the arguments of CBI seeking maximum punishment for the convict for breaching the trust of the followers he abused, weighed over the defence counsel's argument that Singh was a social worker and public figure.
The court also announced to those present at the proceedings in Rohtak jail, where the makeshift court had been set up, that the order in the case will be issued after some time from the main CBI court in Panchkula where the matter was being heard originally.