The four-member Special investigation Team (SIT) of Punjab Police on Monday questioned Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for more than seven hours in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail in connection with theft of a “Bir” of Guru Granth Sahib on June 1, 2015 from a gurdwara in Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in Faridkot district. The Dera head has been questioned for the first time in the sacrilege case.
During “first time and sustained questioning”, Dera chief was posed with “more than 100 questions”, a member of the SIT team said.
After arresting seven Dera men, in July last year, the SIT had named Dera chief as accused in the theft and sacrilege case in which an FIR was registered on June 2, 2015.
The SIT team led by its head, Inspector General Surinder Pal Singh Parmar, and comprising of Batala SSP Mukhwinder Singh Bhullar, DSP Lakhvir Singh and Inspector Dalbir Singh questioned Dera chief for over 7 hours beginning 10:30 am and continuing till 6 pm.
Dera chief was awarded a 20-year in jail term in 2017 for raping two sadhvis (disciples). In January 2019, he and three others were awarded life term for the murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment along with four others on October 18 for the murder of Dera manager Ranjit Singh.
Punjab and Haryana High Court had last month directed that the SIT could question Dera head in jail after he approached court moving applications demanding quashing of a Faridkot court order where production warrants were issued against him in connection with 2015 case, and seeking anticipatory bail, in event of an arrest.
IG Parmar said, “We will submit the compliance report to Punjab and Haryana High Court by November 12 as has been directed.”
The theft of “Bir” and subsequent incidents of sacrilege and police firing on anti-sacrilege protestors where two protestors were killed in Behbal Kalan police firing in 2015 had left members of Sikh community furious, and had pushed erstwhile SAD led government in Punjab to the wall.
The incidents continue to resonate strongly in the run up to upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab.