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4-min read

Mercy Has its Space But Can't Occupy the Whole Accommodation: Court to 'Devastated' Dera Chief

The special CBI court’s order, a copy of which the News18 has accessed, says that Singh's criminal acts in view of him heading a religious organization “are bound to shatter image of pious and sacred, spiritual, social, cultural and religious institutions existing in this country since times immemorial”.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:August 28, 2017, 11:09 PM IST
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Mercy Has its Space But Can't Occupy the Whole Accommodation: Court to 'Devastated' Dera Chief
The CBI court ruled Ram Rahim would have to serve two consecutive terms of 10 years in jail for the two rapes.
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Rohtak: Ram Rahim Singh “committed breach of gravest nature by sexually assaulting gullible and blind followers,” the court observed while sentencing the Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief to 20 years rigorous imprisonment and ordering him to pay a fine of Rs 30 lakh.

The special CBI court’s order, a copy of which the News18 has accessed, says that Singh's criminal acts in view of him heading a religious organization “are bound to shatter image of pious and sacred, spiritual, social, cultural and religious institutions existing in this country since times immemorial”.

And this, the court observed, “in turn causes irreparable damage” to “the heritage of the ancient land.”

Refusing to buy Singh’s plea of being a social worker, the special CBI court judge Jagdeep Singh noted that the conception of mercy has its own space but “it cannot occupy the whole accommodation.”

Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh said Singh would have to spend 10 years in jail for each case and also pay a fine of Rs 15 lakh for each of the two offences under section 376 (rape) of the IPC. In case, Singh defaults on the payments of the fine, “he will have to undergo another 2 years of imprisonment.”

The special makeshift court, which began hearing at Rohtak jail, where Singh was lodged, started proceedings around 3 pm, half an hour after the judge’s helicopter landed there. The prosecution began arguing its case first and it was followed by the defence. The judge did not give much time to each party as he had already heard arguments while pronouncing Singh guilty.

Monday's hearing was only to judge whether the quantum of punishment awarded to Singh was appropriate or not. In half an hour, both the sides had wrapped up their arguments. The judge finally awarded the 20-year sentence based on two cases of rape and criminal intimidation against which two different FIRs were lodged.

As the CBI judge began dictating the order to his writer, Ram Rahim Singh immediately came outside of the makeshift courtroom and sat down. He held his head in his hands and started complaining of chest pains. According to sources, he “looked devastated”.

Police officials told News18 that Singh complained he had suffered a diabetic attack. Going by the rule-book, a judge may award a lower sentence to the convict if their medical condition is not found to be stable. But the chief medical officer found his condition to be fine after a check-up. He was awarded the full sentence.

Seeking maximum punishment for Ram Rahim Singh, the CBI on Monday argued that what Singh had done to his two victims was nothing short of “custodial rape.” CBI said the self-styled godman not only exploited his two female followers physically, but psychologically as well.

“The convict had committed sexual assault upon victims who used to treat him as a father and used to worship him as a god and that convict has shattered the faith and exploited both the victims physically and psychologically,” the CBI counsel said.

“Both the victims were staying in the premises of the Dera under the custody of the convict and acts of the convicts are not less than custodial rape... The convict has projected himself as a godman and took undue advantage of his authority and committed rape upon innocent women,” he added.

The prosecution said Singh deserved the maximum punishment as his case fell in the “rarest of rare” category and has “larger implications for the society”.

CBI also argued that Singh was a very influential figure and “must be sentenced appropriately” to “send a deterring message to potential offenders” and also to the society.

It added that a lesser punishment to the chief of DSS sect would “shock the collective conscience of the society”. Rape wasn’t the only crime Singh had committed, CBI argued, and threatening the two victims, one of which was a minor, was an aggravating factor in the case.

“The instance of rape by the convict, by taking benefit of his privileged position of authority and threatening the defenceless and hapless victims with dire consequences in the event of disclosing of crime to anyone are some of the aggravating factors which need to be taken into consideration,” the prosecution said.

The Dera chief’s lawyers tried to plead leniency by highlighting his age, illnesses and “social work.”

“He is 50 years old, suffering from hypertension, acute diabetes, and severe backache problems, for more than last eight years. He’s also into welfare works for the society. He has also placed on record a medical treatment document,” the defence argued.

But the court did not but any of the arguments.

The court directed that sentences for the two rapes will run consecutively. “The period of custody already undergone by the convict during the investigation and trial of this case shall be set off against the substantive sentences as per section 428 of CrPC,” the order said.

The CBI judge finally left the court, not in the helicopter in which he'd arrived at the scene, but by road with the CBI team from Chandigarh in a motorcade heavily guarded by the security personnel.

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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