Rohtak/Chandigarh:The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Punjab Police probing the case of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim on Tuesday returned empty-handed after the district administration refused to give them permission to interrogate the rape convict.
SIT had been camping inside the premises of Sunaria jail in Rohtak since Monday evening, as the jail authorities sought the District Magistrate’s go ahead. The DM, however, failed to give its permission for the interrogation.
Rohtak’s Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate, Dr Yash Garg, refused to comment on the issue while Haryana Jail minister, Krishan Lal Panwar only said that interrogation cannot take place until permission is granted.
“The jail manual doesn’t allow anyone, be it a common man or the SIT, to meet a prisoner without the permission of the District Magistrate. Until the DM gives us the permission, we can’t allow the SIT to interrogate Ram Rahim. As of now, the DM hasn’t given the go-ahead, and the process in on,” he said.
News18 has learnt that the SIT is likely to make another attempt to quiz the Sirsa-based Dera chief in the coming days.
The SIT, which is investigating the police firing incidents in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura and related sacrilege cases, wants to question the Dera head in connection with the Akal Takht pardon granted to him in 2015.
The police are also looking at his alleged meeting with then Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at film star Akshay Kumar’s residence in Mumbai prior to the pardon.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been lodged inside the Sunaria jail since August 25, 2017, after he was convicted for raping two of his followers. He has also been convicted in a separate case for the murder of journalist Ramchandra Chhatrapati.
Earlier on March 19, the court Faridkot Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMIC) of Ekta Uppal had allowed the SIT to interrogate Gurmeet Ram Rahim inside the jail.
Ram Rahim filed a petition in the JMIC court asking for his counsel to be present alongside him during SIT interrogation. The petition was opposed by the prosecution and later withdrawn.
The Justice Ranjit Singh (retd.) Commission constituted to probe the sacrilege and firing incidents had highlighted the likelihood of Sukhbir Singh Badal trying to secure a pardon for Gurmeet Ram Rahim in order to facilitate the release of a movie about the sect head. The SIT was constituted on the Commission’s recommendations.
Notably, five of the Deras followers are in the custody of the Punjab police over their role in the desecration of the sacred Guru Granth Sahib. The five accused had allegedly taken directions from a top Dera functionary close to Ram Rahim.