Sant Rampal acquitted by Hisar court in two criminal cases, verdict in murder case yet to come

Hisar court acquitted self-styled godman Sant Rampal in two criminal cases on Tuesday. According to ANI, Rampal will remain in jail as other cases are still pending against him. The verdict in three more cases, including a murder case, however, is yet to come, reported NDTV.

"All allegations against Sant Rampal have been found to be baseless," Lawyer AP Singh told reporters and said the judgment was "a victory of truth". Judicial Magistrate Mukesh Kumar granted the relief to the 66-year-old head of Satlok Ashram in Barwala and his followers at a makeshift court set up inside Hisar central jail, citing lack of evidence.

On 17 November, 2014, a case was registered against Rampal and 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).

File image of Sant Rampal. PTI

File image of Sant Rampal. PTI

Another case was registered against Rampal and his followers — Purshotam Dass, Raj Kumar, Mohinder Singh, Rajender Singh, Rahul and 30-40 other persons — on 18 November, 2014 on a complaint of Sukhdev Singh of Ratia (Fatehabad) 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).

The godman has been accused of conspiracy in an 11-year-old case in which his followers had allegedly opened fire on villagers in Rohtak, leading to the death of three people. On 24 August, the judge had deferred the date of hearing for Tuesday after the police cited tension in the wake of the Dera Sacha Sauda case.

Rampal had been arrested after a tense ten-day standoff between some of his followers and security forces at his sprawling premises led to the death of five women and a one-year-old child.

In November 2014, Rampal had holed himself up inside his ashram in Haryana and his armed followers had clashed with police and paramilitary personnel. The violent incident had left six people dead.

Rampal had even ignored the high court summons as he had failed to appear in the court in the 2006 murder case. Then a non-bailable warrant was issued by the high court in the contempt case.

It has been alleged that some of his followers had been held hostage at his ashram. During the standoff, Rampal's followers had used stones, acid and petrol bombs to attack 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 of land.

The sect leader had been avoiding arrest and had failed to appear before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, although non-bailable warrants were issued against him earlier in November that year.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Aug 29, 2017 19:23 PM

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