Dera chief gets VIP treatment in jail
Chandigarh: Convicted of rape and criminal intimidation on two counts, Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh continued to get VIP treatment from Haryana's Manohar Lal Khattar government in prison.
The Dera Sacha Sauda chief, according to police sources, was provided with an air-conditioned room in the prison near Rohtak town, around 70 km from Delhi.
"From arranging a special helicopter to providing an air-conditioned room and helping in using facilities meant for police officers, the Khattar government is extending all help to the lawfully disgraced Dera chief even after his conviction in such a serious crime as rape. This is appalling," a police source, who saw some of these things happen on Friday and Saturday said.
A woman, Honeypreet, whom the Dera website describes as his daughter (not real daughter), was allowed to accompany him along with bags and suitcases when Ram Rahim, after being taken into custody was flown in a specially arranged helicopter from the police lines complex in Panchkula.
Even after being taken into custody, the Dera chief was shown full respect by a section of officers instead of being treated like a convicted criminal.
"A couple of senior officers, who tried to take the Dera chief to task and treat him like any other criminal after his conviction were physically assaulted by his (sect chief's) security.
"One senior officer was slapped and other one was pushed in the presence of other top officers. The Haryana Police had to detain his security for some time to take him into its custody following the conviction," the police officer said.
The sect chief had openly announced support for the BJP in the 2014 elections. Millions of his followers in the region voted as per his diktat. He even went to cast his own vote.
The BJP, for the first time, came to power in Haryana on its own in the October 2014 assembly elections.
Panchkula town, adjoining here, where the CBI court announced the sect chief guilty, bore the brunt of the violence on Friday and resembled a war zone with scores of burnt vehicles and properties damaged or torched.
CBI special judge Jagdeep Singh held the Dera sect leader, who has lakhs of followers mainly in Punjab and Haryana, guilty of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples in 2002.
The self-styled godman is used to a life of ultra luxury and ostentatious public appearances.