The former disciples of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, whose disclosures led to his conviction, have approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking life sentence for the rape convict and have asked a revision of the judgment of the Special CBI Court which had sentenced Gurmeet Ram Rahim to 20 years of imprisonment in two rape cases on August 28. While seeking maximum punishment for the Dera chief, the survivors have said though the trial court had appreciated the fact that the Dera chief had committed a grave breach of trust being the head of a religious organisation, it should have awarded life imprisonment to him “as the case was not of nature where a lesser sentence would have achieved the ends of justice.”
“Seeing the gravity of the offence where the rape was committed upon the petitioner while she was in mental and physical custody of the accused, the ends of justice require maximum exemplary punishment to the accused,” their counsels have said in one of the pleas, adding that the High Court should also keep in mind that Ram Rahim is also accused of murdering one of the survivor’s brother.
On 3 October, the Police finally managed to arrest Honeypreet Insan – the ‘adopted daughter’ of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim – who was on the run for 37 days. However, whether Haryana Police arrested her or Punjab Police, and from where was she arrested has become a matter of controversy. Not only Haryana and Punjab share the border, state capital, but also a small town Zirakpur, Punjab on the outskirts of Chandigarh also has an easy proximity to the town of Panchkula in Haryana. Both the state police differ on their presented story to the media on her arrest.
Interestingly, Honeypreet was arrested within 24 hours of her TV interviews on 2 October. The police apparently caught her around 3 pm the next day when she was travelling in an Innova car on Zirakpur-Patiala road, merely 10 kms from Panchkula.
So did the Punjab Police first nab her and then hand her over to the Haryana Police? This is what Manvir Singh, DCP of Panchkula, had to say, Not at all, the Haryana Police first arrested her. We got a strong tip-off about her and accordingly, we acted on it and succeeded in arresting her. Another version presented was Honeypreet was being sheltered by Harminder Singh Jassi, the Congress MLA from Bathinda, who is closely connected to the Dera. Jassi’s daughter was married to Ram Rahim’s son. After the Delhi High Court rejected Honeypreet’s bail on 26 September, she knew she couldn’t escape arrest any longer. Hence, along with Jassi, Honeypreet planned her arrest with the help of a senior Punjab Police officer. Apparently, she was in the Punjab Police’s custody since 2 October. Media in India has been claiming that the senior Punjab Police officer had apparently arranged for Honeypreet’s interview with two news channels just a day before her arrest on Jassi’s order. That means she gave the interviews when she was in the Punjab Police’s custody. She was arrested alongwith Sukhdeep Kaur hailing from Bathinda and a Dera follower. However, the cops din’t impound the car, could that be an attempt to shield some one?