Panchkula: A special CBI court here on Friday convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head of the spiritual sect Dera Sacha Sauda, for the murder of his former manager Ranjit Singh in 2002.
Along with the sect chief, who has been in jail since his conviction in 2017 for raping two disciples, the special court found four others—Krishan Lal, Jasbir Singh, Avtar Singh and Sabdil— guilty for the murder, the PTI reported. One more accused in the murder case had passed away a year ago.
The quantum of the sentence will be pronounced on October 12.
In 2017, a special CBI court had sentenced Gurmeet to 20 years of imprisonment for raping two of his female followers. In January 2019, he was also sentenced to life in jail for the murder of a journalist.
Here’s taking a look at the state of cases against other such godmen:
Almost exactly a year ago, Narayan Sai’s father, Asaram Bapu was on April 25, 2018, sentenced to life term for the 2013 rape of a minor girl. He had been charged under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Former Union minister and BJP member, Swami Chinmayanand was accused of illegally confining and raping a woman at his ashram in Haridwar in 2011. The woman had even accused him of threatening to kill her if she approached the police. The Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government had decided to withdraw the rape and kidnapping case against him, but a local court issued a bailable warrant of Rs 5,000 against Chinmayanand, rejecting the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea.
Swami Kaushlendra Prapannachari
Swami Kaushlendra Prapannachari, 70, also known as Falahari Maharaj or Baba, was arrested by Alwar Police on September 21, 2017, for allegedly raping a 21-year-old intern, daughter of a devotee from Chhattisgarh. The alleged assault took place at the ashram on August 7, 2017. The rape accused godman’s bail plea was rejected in April 2018. Last September (2018), a sessions court in Alwar convicted the godman of the rape and awarded him life imprisonment, besides imposing a fine of ₹1 lakh.
In 2010, a former disciple of Swami Nithyananda registered a complaint with Chennai Police, accusing Nithyananda of raping a former female disciple in the garb of religious practice. A case was registered at Ramanagara police under Sections 295A, 420, 376, 377, 506(i) and 120B in 2010. But in March 2018, Karnataka High Court stayed trial court proceedings against Nithyananda and his associates till it hears a discharge petition filed by him.
Baba Parmanand of Barabanki
Self-styled godman Baba Parmanand of Barabanki, who was arrested in 2016, allegedly sexually abused childless women on the pretext of curing their infertility. He even made videos of his acts to blackmail them.
Swami Premananda of Premananda Ashram
Swami Premananda of Premananda Ashram in Tiruchirapally, Tamil Nadu, was accused of raping 13 inmates and molesting two followers, besides murdering a disciple in 1994. The Supreme Court sentenced him to life in 2005 but he passed away in February 2011 of ill health.
Sai Baba of Puttaparthi
There have been allegations that Sai Baba used to sexually molest young men during private meetings at his ashram in Puttaparthi, but his followers have refuted all charges. Also, none of the allegations that Sai Baba used to indulge in sexual abuses and paedophilia has ever been proven.