Self-styled godman Ram Rahim, four others acquitted in 2002 murder case

 Chandigarh, May 28 : The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday acquitted Dera Sacha Sauda’s controversial self-styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, in the Ranjit Singh murder case.

Despite the acquittal, Ram Rahim, who is currently lodged at Sunaria Jail in Haryana’s Rohtak, will remain in prison as he also stands convicted in other cases of rape and murder. A bench comprising Justices Sureshwar Thakur and Lalit Batra pronounced the judgement on appeals moved by Ram Rahim and others who were convicted by a CBI court in Panchkula in 2021.

The others are Avtar Singh, Jasbir Singh, Sabdil Singh, and Krishan Lal, all of whom were awarded life sentences along with the self-styled godman. Former dera manager Ranjit Singh was shot by four assailants on July 10, 2002, at Khanpur Kolian village in Haryana’s Kurukshetra.

In 2021, a special CBI court found Ram Rahim and others guilty of the murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. It was suspected that Ranjit Singh was murdered because of his alleged role in circulating a letter that narrated how the sect head was sexually exploiting women at the dera headquartered in Sirsa. Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati later used the same letter in a news report. He was killed soon after the report was published. Ram Rahim was also convicted on the charges of murdering the journalist. Admitting his appeal in December 2021, the high court had stayed the recovery of 50 per cent fine during the pendency of the appeal.