New Delhi: Even after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was handed 20 years in jail for raping two minors in a 15-year-old case, it looks like the self-styled godman might still continue to head the sect from inside the prison.
Sources at the Dera told CNN-News18 that it was unlikely that Gurmeet Ram Rahim will announce a successor anytime soon. The biggest reason being that those in the Dera do not know how much property Ram Rahim has transferred in his name.
“We need to make sure how much property and assets he’s transferred in his name. Only then can we know what is remaining with the trust,” a Dera source told CNN-News18.
The source added that the Dera sect chief could continue to head the organization, with the management being handled by a close aide.
The source added that another reason for not naming a successor was the growing influence of Honeypreet Insan, the Dera chief’s adopted daughter, within the organization.
“She is a strong contender but she is on a weak footing right now. Ram Rahim was her benefactor, protector and caretaker so far. But, now things will change. I think Ram Rahim will wait for her to gain some momentum,” an insider told CNN-News18.
Who Are The Contenders?
One of the few potential contenders to succeed the rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim is, Guru Brahmachari Vipasana, the woman who rose through the ranks and also finished her graduation from an institute run by the Dera, is said to be the second-in-command here. She is the chief of the management team at Sirsa, called the ‘Nambardaar’.
‘Nambardaar’ is the highest authority at the Dera headquarters, who is at the helm of organising most of the events that has made the Dera Sacha Sauda famous. These events include blood donation camps, cultural events etc. Many of these events have earned Dera records, including those recognised by Guinness.
However, she’s not the only one in the list of probables. Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s children, one of them adopted, can be the other potential rivals to her.
His daughters, Amarpreet Insan and Charnpreet Insan, who call themselves ‘Papa’s Angels’ on their Twitter bios, do not have a defined role in the organization, but can be turn out to be important contenders for the chief’s role. Both are married and their respective husbands have also taken the title of ‘Insan’.
On the other hand, Ram Rahim’s son, Jasmeet, who is a businessman and is married to Punjab Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi’s daughter, was declared to be the heir to his father’s throne in 2007, after the latter was chargesheeted by the CBI in rape and murder cases.
The possibility of any of his biological children taking over the reins is slightly on precarious grounds since the organisation has never had any of its chiefs handing over the baton to one of his own.
The Dera website says Shri Mastana Ji Maharaj founded Dera in 1948, after which Param Pita Shah Satnam Ji Maharaj took over. Ram Rahim succeeded Satnam Maharaj. The organisation is said to have a policy of excluding immediate members of their leaders as the next chief.
However, this time might be different with Ram Rahim’s adopted daughter Honeypreet Insan. She is one of the closest confidantes of Ram Rahim and has acted alongside him as one of the main protagonists in all films by the Dera chief.
Honeypreet, who addresses Ram Rahim as GuruPa on social media, has her own website where she says, “It has been a wonderful experience working with my father. He inspired me. His talent, acting skills, sharp memory and overall contribution to the film made things easier.”
Interestingly, it was Honeypreet who was seen alongside Ram Rahim right after he was convicted on Friday.
How Rich is The Dera Outfit?
Saying that the outfit is very rich would be an understatement. Its headquarters in Sirsa have a sprawling compound which also houses a multi-specialty hospital, a stadium, a bevy of luxury vehicles. Since the organisation is listed as an NGO, it is exempt from taxes under Income Tax Act’s Section 10(23).
Other than acres of immovable assets spread across Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, the outfit also boasts of strong political connections.