January 12, 2019:
On Friday, Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh & 3 others accused in the 2002 murder case of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatarpati, editor of ‘Poora Sach’ newspaper, were convicted by special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh.
The other accused convicted are Dera manager Krishan Lal & two Dera carpenters, Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh, who executed the murder.
The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on Jan 17.
The same judge had, in Aug 2017, convicted the 51-year-old Dera Chief, who is serving a 20-year prison term in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail for rape of two women disciples.
Gurmeet appeared via video conferencing from jail for the Friday hearing. The other three accused were present in court.
CBI counsel HPS Verma said Kuldeep Singh and Nirmal Singh were convicted under Section 302 (punishment for murder) of IPC read with Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, while Dera chief and Krishan Lal were convicted under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 302 (punishment for murder) of IPC.
Nirmal Singh was also convicted under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959. Similarly, Krishan Lal was convicted under Section 29 of the Arms Act, 1959.
According to the CBI chargesheet, Dera manager Krishan Lal had given his licenced revolver and a walkie-talkie to Kuldeep and Nirmal, in the presence of the Dera Chief, to eliminate Chhatarpati.
They shot Chhatarpati on Oct 24, 2002 and he died three weeks later.