Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim — father of three children — had argued that he was impotent, in a desperate attempt to escape harsh punishment, minutes before a special CBI court on Monday convicted and jailed him for 20 years for raping two of his followers 15 years ago.
The self-styled godman had claimed that he had been impotent since he was anointed as the Dera chief in 1990, but the court in Haryana’s Rohtak declared that the argument was devoid of any substance.
The Dera chief had said he was never medically examined to ascertain his capacity to perform sexual intercourse. “In such circumstances, it was the duty of the investigating agency to ascertain his virility,” the defence counsel had argued.
The court, however, said, “As per the case of the defence itself, the accused has two daughters who resided in the Dera hostel…” The court said he fathered at least two daughters, and added, “In 1998, his daughter Amarpreet was in Class 5 and Charanpreet in Class 8. This speaks volumes of the virility of the accused.”
Thirty-eight people died, mostly in Haryana’s Panchkula, where the Dera chief was convicted of rape, in large-scale violence, arson and police firing after his followers rampaged also across Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and NCR to protest the order a week ago.
Even as the two rape survivors continued to stand like a rock, Rahim merely went with simple denial of incriminating evidence against him without any proof, said the court in its detailed judgement.
“… credibility of these witnesses could not be impeached despite very lengthy cross-examination, and they have consistently deposed that they were ravished by the accused while residing in the Dera premises,” observed the CBI court.
The court said that the families of both survivors and those of their husbands were staunch supporters of the Dera and were under tremendous pressure and threats.
It observed that the evidence of record clearly explained the delay on their part to come forward and make statements.
One survivor had confided in her brother, Ranjit Singh, who was killed five months before an FIR could be registered. The second survivor and her husband were tortured to drop the allegations.
The defence pointed out delay in filing the complaints. “It is a case of peculiar facts and circumstances. Not narrating the incident even to mother for a period of three years is clearly understandable,” the court, however, said.
“It is natural that such followers would get traumatic experience of their lifetime on getting ravished in breach of such faith and in such circumstances, silence of the victims can well be understood,” the court said.
The court also dismissed the argument of the non-recovery of a revolver, porn CDs, which were mentioned by the survivors in their statements, and said it does not dent the prosecution case, as the cases took place in 1999 and surfaced in 2002. “It is highly improbable that such items could have been recovered by the investigating agency after so long. It does not shake the testimony of the victims,” said the court.
The Dera chief’s arguments that he was he was being implicated since drug mafia, anti-religious people, political persons and other Dera institutions were against him also failed to convince the court. It pointed out that there was not an iota of evidence on record on why he would be implicated.
“Any followers, much less the sadhvis, who had been christened by the accused himself, would be the last person in the world to level false allegations against such a person,” the court said.
A letter presented by the defence, allegedly written by one of the survivors, purportedly denying allegations against the Dera chief, was also rejected by the court as not legally tenable. (Agencies)