How Rapist Ram Rahim Kept a Murder Case Pending For 25 Years
With the initial complaint having come in 1992, the case against Ram Rahim has even reached the CBI, to no avail.
On Monday, the Panchkula Court pronounced 10 years of imprisonment for Ram Rahim for two counts of rape committed in 2002. It took 15 years for the rape survivors to get justice from the court. What could be the reason for this unconscionable delay? Was Ram Rahim too powerful to be brought to heel by the legal system or police? Why did the government allow the so-called ‘godman’ to grow right under its nose? Was it because he helmed a significant vote bank? These are some of the questions the government needs to answer.
Now a rape convict, Ram Rahim also stands charged for two murders. One murder case is of Ranjit Singh, the brother of one of the rape survivors, and the other is of journalist Ram Chander Chattrapati, who exposed Ram Rahim’s illegal activities. But there is a third case, of the murder of Fakir Chand, the manager of Dera Sacha Sauda, who went missing in 1992.
A petition was filed in 2013 in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana to investigate the matter, which is still pending. Fakir Chand was allegedly “eliminated for fear of disclosure of misdeeds of Ram Rahim”.
Who Is Fakir Chand?
On 23 September 1990, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh became the Chief of Dera Sacha Sauda. Fakir Chand, the manager, had been residing in Dera for almost 25 years. Suddenly in 1991, he went missing. Ram Kumar Bishnoi, a follower of Dera, was close to Fakir Chand. In 1992, he filed a missing person complaint to police.
For many months, I didn’t know that Fakir was missing because I wasn’t going to Dera. When I finally went to Dera and found that he was last seen there and suddenly went missing, I filed a police complaint.Ram Kumar Bishnoi, Complainant
For several years, the police didn’t take any action on the complaint. Finally in 2007 a TV news channel carried out a sting operation on another Dera follower Gobind Singh and a driver of Dera, and the murder of Fakir Chand was admitted to. Gobind Singh disclosed in the sting:
Fakir Chand was detained in a confidential room inside Dera and was beaten there and interrogated. Then he was taken to Dhani (a farm) in Phulkan village, where he was beaten to death. Then they came to Babaji, asking what they should do next. Gobind Singh with Baldev Mither burnt the hair of Fakir Chand’s dead body, and then threw the body in a canal. Baba had this murder committed to send a message that no one should dare to speak out in the future.
CBI Filed FIR of Murder Against Ram Rahim
The High Court of Punjab and Haryana ordered a preliminary inquiry into the case of Fakir’s murder based on a petition filed by Ram Kumar Bishnoi. Accordingly, the CBI registered a preliminary inquiry into the matter in August 2009. The preliminary inquiry was conducted by Satish Dagar, the Additional Superintendent of Police, CBI. During the investigation, Gobind Singh disclosed to the CBI in his statement that he had filed a written complaint to the CBI in 2007 reiterating the facts which he had disclosed in the TV sting. But no cognition was taken by the CBI then.
After conducting a preliminary inquiry for months into the matter, the CBI registered a murder case against Ram Rahim in February 2010. The FIR stated that:
The motive of murder of Fakir Chand was to extract information about the cash and property details of Dera.
The FIR named Ram Rahim and four others, including Gobind Singh.
It took nine months and a change of investigating officer for the CBI to file a closure report into the murder case of Fakir Chand. The investigating officer Satish Dagar was replaced with BS Dogra. In November 2010, the CBI filed the closure report in the High Court, stating:
There is no independent corroboration to the extra judicial confession made by Gobind Singh. Thus, no prosecution could be launched against any of the accused persons.
The CBI also said in the closure report that Gobind Singh retracted from his earlier statement.
Why did the CBI investigation change course in nine months?
In response to the closure report filed by the CBI, Ram Kumar Bishnoi filed a petition in the High Court demanding re-investigation into the case. The petition said:
When accused Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh saw the inquiry going against him, (he) started complaining against Satish Dagar (the first investigating CBI officer) and put political pressure on higher authorities of CBI to hand over the investigation to some other officer who can toe the line according to his wishes.
The petition had also said:
The investigation was handed over to BS Dogra, DSP CBI under the pressure created by Baba Ram Rahim and the accused Gobind Singh who, after the order of CBI inquiry, was won over by Baba Ram Rahim and retracted his statement of confession.
The petitioner demanded that a Special Investigating Team of CBI be formed to probe the matter. He also specified that BS Dogra shouldn’t be part of the team.
Where’s the Fakir Chand Case Now?
The defence lawyer made all efforts to delay the hearing on the High Court petition. He always insisted on adjourning the matter and asking for another date. Because of that, the matter is still pending in the High Court.Sartej S Narula, Petitioner’s Lawyer
Even after 25 years, Fakir Chand’s case seems to have reached nowhere. The petition which was filed in 2013 is still pending in the High Court.
The Panchkula Court’s remarkable judgment against Ram Rahim in the rape cases against him has given the petitioner and Fakir Chand’s family new hope.
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