Court verdict in rape case against Dera chief on August 25

Chandigarh, Aug 17 (IANS) A Special CBI court in adjoining Panchkula in Haryana will pronounce its verdict in a rape case against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on August 25.

After hearing final arguments in the case, Special CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh reserved orders and asked the Dera chief, who was earlier largely questioned through videoconferencing, to remain present in the court on the said date.

The case hearing was going on since 2007.

The sect chief, who has lakhs of followers in Punjab, Haryana, and other states, has been accused by a former female follower of raping her more than once inside the sprawling Dera campus on the outskirts of Sirsa town in Haryana, 260 km from Chandigarh.

Despite charges of murder, conspiracy, and rape against him, the Dera chief enjoys Z-category security provided by Haryana Police and moves around in a fleet of bulletproof luxury sport utility vehicles.

Fearing violence ahead of the verdict in the case — which was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation — authorities in Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday had sought central paramilitary forces to maintain law and order in the two states.

The Chief Secretaries and the Directors General of Police of Punjab and Haryana met Home Secretary-designate Rajiv Gauba in New Delhi for over half an hour on Wednesday on the law and order measures put in place to handle any law and order situation.

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