Eighteen years after he raped two of his female disciples, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Monday sentenced to 20 years jail for rape and criminal intimidation and fined Rs 30 lakh.
The rapist sect chief has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in each of the two cases of rape. Both the sentences will run consecutively, the sect chief’s counsel S.K. Garg Narwana said after the special CBI judge pronounced the sentence in the District Jail in Sunaria, which was brought under extraordinary security following Friday’s violence.
The rape victims will get Rs 14 lakh each as compensation from the fine, CBI special court Judge Jagdeep Singh, who was flown in a helicopter from Chandigarh, said in the judgment.
CBI counsel Sumeet Goel said any decision on challenging the order for enhancing the sentence would be taken after examining the fine print of the order. Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh also slapped a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Gurmeet.
During arguments, the CBI counsel demanded harsh punishment for the Dera head, given the heinous nature of the crime and the fact that the sadhvis whom he raped were in his shelter. Narwana, however, sought a mild sentence considering Gurmeet’s contribution to “Swachhta Abhiyan” (cleanliness drives) and other social services.
Gurmeet broke down after hearing the sentence and requested leniency. He kept standing in the courtroom and pleaded before the judge to reduce the jail term. Virtually in tears, he kept repeating that he had been framed. The 50-year-old remained adamant for almost 10 minutes. He refused to leave the courtroom and insisted that he did not want to go back to the jail barracks.