‘Good Bahu’ Led Astray By Ram Rahim: Honeypreet’s Ex Father-In-Law

Ram Rahim hadn’t even passed Class 10, says Honeypreet’s former father-in-law, who was a Dera follower for 40 years

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The Quint spoke to Mahesh Gupta, former father-in-law of Honeypreet Singh, and ‘adopted daughter’ of rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Gupta was an insider and a follower of Dera Sacha Sauda from 1970 till 2009. He said he observed the activities of Dera from close quarters.

In 1999, Gupta's son Vishwas married Priyanka Taneja aka Honeypreet, but the two separated in 2009 when he came to know that she had illicit relationship with Ram Rahim. Gupta also filed a divorce case against Honeypreet in the High Court in 2011, in which he mentioned this as reason for their separation – that’s how Ram Rahim and Honeypreet’s relationship became public. But the ‘godman’ made the Guptas’ lives miserable by bombarding the family with false cases and threatening to kill them, after which they went into hiding.

After Ram Rahim's conviction, the family has slowly started talking to the media to give their side of the story.

Honeypreet as a Daughter-in-Law

An old photograph of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Honeypreet and Vishwas Gupta. 
An old photograph of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Honeypreet and Vishwas Gupta. 
(Photo: Poonam Agarwal/The Quint)

What kind of daughter-in-law was Honeypreet?

Honeypreet was a good-natured daughter-in-law. She stayed in our house. She was respectful to everyone in the family. On 30 December 2009, Ram Rahim ‘adopted’ Honeypreet, after that she never returned to our house. She stayed with Ram Rahim in his cave day after day. She would visit the Dera after the marriage, but only with us, not by herself.

Honeypreet’s former husband, Vishwas Gupta, filed for divorce in 2011 after she was caught in a compromising position with Ram Rahim.

So why then did the Guptas apologise for their allegations against Ram Rahim in 2014?

We apologised in public because Baba got 5 false cases registered against me. He wanted to remove the taint of his illicit relationship with Honeypreet. My son was in jail for 15 days in a defamation case. Baba didn’t let him get out on bail. He got someone planted inside the jail and gave him a contract of Rs 10 lakh to kill my son. I asked the jail superintendent to protect my son and shift him to an isolated cell.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim with his ‘sadhvis’ in white salwar kameez
Gurmeet Ram Rahim with his ‘sadhvis’ in white salwar kameez
(Photo: Poonam Agarwal/The Quint)

Did you or other followers know about the sexual abuse in the Dera?

Nobody had any idea of such activities inside the Dera. Those who knew about it were those who were facing it, like Sadhvis or teachers. Men and women didn’t interact inside the Dera. We used just go to the Dera to listen to satsang, and leave soon after. That’s why we didn’t know what was going on inside the caves of the Dera at night.

Why did Ram Rahim continue to get support even after the rape FIR?

No one was ready to believe that he could commit such a crime. People thought that the rape charges were fake, and someone is trying to defame Ram Rahim. Not just that, baba openly announced on the stage that we should all follow these rules: one should never consume meat, eggs or liquor and to respect women as sisters, mothers and daughters. Ram Rahim kept blaming the liquor mafia for defaming him with false rape allegations, and people believed him.

The Dark Truth Behind Castration of 400 Dera Followers

Why were so many followers of the Dera castrated?

Ram Rahim had two married daughters and one married son, all of them stayed inside the Dera with their spouses. Baba had assigned one sadhvi (as a servant) to each of them. Many sadhus (male) were also deployed in the house. Each of them had 8 hours of shift duty. Baba was afraid that these sadhus might misbehave, which might lead to his daughters getting pregnant. To avert this he got all those sadhus castrated and made them impotent so they wouldn’t go home. These sadhus weren’t paid money, only food and clothes. Baba shared this information with me. Dera managers used to take these sadhus in batches of 20 to the hospital for castration. All sadhus were aware of what was going to happen, but none revolted for fear of being killed.

An old photograph of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Honeypreet and Vishwas Gupta on a foreign trip. 
An old photograph of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Honeypreet and Vishwas Gupta on a foreign trip. 
(Photo: Poonam Agarwal/The Quint)

Ram Rahim’s Political Clout

According to Gupta, Ram Rahim lured politicians with the power of his votebank. Most of the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana used to visit the Dera. Through his political connections, Ram Rahim got his several illegal works done, said Gupta.

Ex-chief ministers of Punjab, namely Prakash Singh Badal, Captain Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaul Bhattal. I have seen all ex-chief ministers of Haryana as well in the Dera like Chaudhary Bansilal, Bhajanlal and Om Prakash Chautala. BS Hooda is the only former CM of Haryana in recent years who never visited the Dera.
MP Gupta, Honeypreet’s Former Father-in-Law 

How Did Dera Sacha Sauda Get Funding?

Gupta also told us how the Dera came to own properties worth crores.

Ram Rahim had announced that all followers had to donate 15% of their income to the Dera. He also built a theatre inside the Dera, the most expensive ticket was worth Rs 1 lakh. The buyer of the Rs 1 lakh ticket would get sit next to baba during the movie. There are 10 commercial factories inside the Dera, 3 were set up by me. 
MP Gupta, Honeypreet’s former father-in-law 

According to Gupta, Ram Rahim belonged to a Zamindar family and hadn’t even passed Class 10. The Guptas now live under police protection in fear for their lives.

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam

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