Chandigarh, Jan 11 (IANS) The following in the timeline of the cases of murder, rape and sexual exploitation against Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh:
2002: Anonymous letters written to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High court by two female disciples (Sadhvis) alleging that they were raped and sexually exploited by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
July 2002: Former sect manager Ranjit Singh murdered in July 2002. Singh was murdered by sect activists, allegedly at the behest of its chief “as he knew too much” about activities inside the sect headquarters. Case is under trial with the CBI court.
October 2002: Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati shot dead, allegedly by sect supporters, after he wrote about shady activities inside the sect headquarters near Sirsa in his newspaper ‘Poora Sach’. Ram Rahim told his aides that Chhatrapati be silenced.
November 2003: The Punjab and Haryana High Court orders a CBI probe into the rape and sexual exploitation of the Sadhvis by the sect chief.
December 2003: CBI begins investigation into the rape case against the sect chief.
July 2007: CBI files charge-sheet against the sect chief in rape case.
2007-17: Nearly 200 hearings of the rape case held over 10 years. The sect chief continued to be on bail granted to him by the trial court (earlier located in Ambala in Haryana).
Petitions filed by the sect chief, through his counsels, in High Court and Supreme Court over this period. Leads to delay in case being heard by trial (CBI special court) court.
August 2017: Trial court concludes hearing. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh convicted by special CBI court in Panchkula on August 25. Sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment on two counts of rape.
January 2019: Special CBI court convicts Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati. Three aides of the sect chief also convicted.