A sessions court in Hisar on Tuesday sentenced spiritual leader Rampal and 14 others to life imprisonment in connection with a 2014 murder case.
Hisar Additional District and Sessions judge DR Chaliya pronounced the quantum of sentence in the case, which was lodged on the complaint of one Shivpal of Mithapur near Badarpur in Delhi. Rampal was convicted in the 2014 murder case on 11 October. The court had found 29 accused, including Rampal, guilty in the case.
Rampal, the head of Satlok Ashram in Barwala in Hisar, was arrested in November 2015 after a two-week-long standoff between his followers and police, which had left six dead and several others injured. Rampal's followers and security forces had clashed at the sprawling premises of his ashram in November 2015, which led to the death of five women and a one-year-old toddler. It was believed that they died because of suffocation inside the ashram. About 15,000 of Rampal's followers were evacuated from the ashram after the standoff.
On Tuesday, the Hisar court imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on all 15 convicts under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, two-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 under section 343 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC and life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh each under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. All the sentences will run concurrently, counsels of the accused AP Singh and Mohinder Singh Nain said.
The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence in another murder case involving Rampal on Wednesday.
Two cases of murder were registered against 67-year-old Rampal in November 2014. The two cases were lodged at the Barwala Police Station on 19 November, 2014. The second one was lodged by one Suresh of Jakhora village of Lalitpur district in Uttar Pradesh.
Both complainants had alleged that their respective wives' were held captive inside Rampal's ashram and later killed. Besides the murder charges, the Barwala Police had also invoked the offence of wrongful confinement, among others, in the two FIRs.
It was also alleged that some of his followers had been held hostage in the ashram during the 10-day standoff. Rampal's followers, during the clashes with security forces, had used stones, acid and petrol bombs to attack the security personnel.
The conflict began when the Punjab and Haryana High Court told the government to produce Rampal in a contempt of court case. After that, Rampal's supporters surrounded the Satlok Ashram and prevented the police from entering its premises, spread over 12 acres.
One case was registered against him and some of his followers under IPC sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public function), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty).
The other case was registered against Rampal and his followers — Purshotam Dass, Raj Kumar, Mohinder Singh, Rajender Singh, Rahul and 30 to 40 others — on a complaint under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly, every other member of such assembly shall be guilty of the offence), 188 (disobedient to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant) and 342 (wrongfully confining any person).
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Oct 17, 2018 12:10 PM