Bringing an end to the 15-year-long wait, the special CBI judge handed down twenty year jail term to self-proclaimed 'messenger of God' and Dera sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for rape. He was convicted in two cases and sentenced to 10 years each. The sentence shall be consecutive.
Special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh, who was flown to the Rohtak Jail, Sunaria delivered the judgement at the court as the entire region was turned into a fortress with thick security to avert a repeat of Friday'smayhem that followed his conviction.
Just minutes before the sentence was pronounced, Dera spokesperson appealed to all supporters to maintain peace.
The judge granted 20 minutes each to CBI and to the defence lawyers to advance their arguments on quantum of sentence.
While the CBI demanded life term for the Dera chief,the defence lawyer pleaded for leniency citing his social work in the area of drug and alcohol de-addiction.
The conviction comes 15 years after an anonymous letter, penned bya Dera Sadhavi, was received by the then Prime Minister complaining about Gurmeet Ram Rahim raping her.
Here is a timeline of the case which took 15 long years to reach conclusion:
While two of the sadhavis accused Gurmeet Ram Rahim of raping them, the Dera chief had denied the charges as baseless saying he was not capable of establishing sexual relations.
While he has been pronounced guilty of rape, he stands accused of murdering Dera follower Ranjit Singh who he and his followers suspected to be behind the anonymous letter written by the sadhavi.
They believed that the letter written by Ranjit Singh's sister. He was murdered two months after the letter was written.Another journalist who highlighted the alleged wrongdoings at the Dera was also shot and later died. The case is on.