Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief serving a 20-year prison sentence for rape, has been granted a 21-day furlough after a 30-day parole earlier this year, as per officials cited by news agency PTI. Singh was convicted of raping two disciples and is currently held in Sunaria jail in Haryana’s Rohtak district. While parole involves the temporary release of a prisoner for specific purposes or prematurely based on good behavior promises, a furlough is a brief, temporary release for convicts from prison.
During this 21-day temporary release, the 56-year-old is set to go to the Dera Sacha Sauda Ashram in Barnawa, located in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat, according to reports. The sect’s chief had made the request for temporary release, the PTI report further said.
Recently, on November 14, the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the FIR filed in Jalandhar against Dera Sacha Sauda chief. The FIR pertained to allegations of religious sentiments being offended during his discourse regarding an incident involving Sant Kabir Das and Guru Ravidas.
How many times he was out so far?
This marks the sixth time that the Dera chief has received special permission for release from prison, since he was convicted in 2017. Singh had walked out of the Sunaria jail on a 30-day parole on July 30.
Previously, the Dera chief had obtained a 40-day parole in January. Also, in October of the preceding year, he had been granted another 40-day parole. Preceding the October parole, he had been out on a month-long parole in June of the same year. Additionally, he had a three-week furlough starting from February 7, 2022.
What was the case for which he was jailed for 20 years?
Ram Rahim was sentenced a 20-year jail term by CBI special court after he was convicted on August 25, 2017 for raping the two disciples more than 15 years ago.
An anonymous letter sent in 2002 to then-Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee and various top institutions, including the Punjab and Haryana High Court, prompted investigations into the rape allegations against Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
In response, the High Court directed the Sirsa district and sessions judge to investigate the claims made in the letter. The case was then taken over by the CBI, resulting in a chargesheet filed five years later in 2007. The reported rapes occurred between 1999 and 2002.
Following a decade-long delay, during which the special CBI court transitioned from Ambala to Panchkula, Gurmeet Ram Rahim was ultimately convicted of rape and criminal intimidation in 2017.
Other cases against the Dera chief
In 2003, the CBI initiated an investigation following orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court and took over a previously registered case from the Police Station Sadar in Kurukshetra. The case revolved around the alleged murder of Ranjit Singh, a resident of village Khanpur Kolian in Kurukshetra, on July 10, 2002, while he was working in his fields.
After a comprehensive inquiry, the CBI filed a charge sheet in 2007 against six individuals, with charges being framed in 2008. Subsequently, on October 8, 2021, the court convicted Rahim and four others in connection to the murder case of former Dera manager Ranjit Singh.
Additionally, in 2019, the Dera chief and three others were convicted for the murder of a journalist more than 16 years ago.