Hisar, August 29
A local court today acquitted controversial dera chief Rampal and seven others in two criminal cases of wrongful confinement and obstructing public servants from performing their duties registered in 2014.Rampal will, however, stay in jail as five more cases related to the 2014 Satlok Ashram violence are sub-judice.The court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Mukesh Kumar held the accused not guilty after the prosecution failed to prove the charges. “The witnesses, mostly policemen, who deposed in court were unable to prove the charges,” said Rampal’s counsel AP Singh.“We closely examined the chargesheet and cross-examined the witnesses in the two cases registered at the Barwala police station on November 17 and 18 in 2014. It’s a victory of truth,” he said after emerging from the court.The others acquitted are Virender, Ramphal, Purshotam Dass, Raj Kapoor, Baljeet, Mahender and Rajender.The accused were facing charges under Sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC. Earlier, Rampal, lodged in Central Jail No. 2, appeared for the hearing via video-conferencing after the court was shifted to Central Jail No. 1 over security concerns.Rampal is still facing charges under Sections 302 (murder), 121 (waging war, attempting/abetting to wage war against the Government of India), 121A (conspiracy), 122 (collecting arms with intent to wage war), 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war) and other sections of the IPC in five other cases registered at the Barwala police station in November 2014.The magistrate had deferred the date of hearing to August 29 after the police cited tension in view of the Sacha Sauda chief case.Rampal had evaded arrest in connection with a 2006 case involving his followers after they opened fire at villagers in Rohtak, killing one.Rampal ignored Punjab and Haryana High Court summons after he failed to appear in court. The HC then issued non-bailable warrants.In November 2014, he resisted a police operation to arrest him while being holed up inside his ashram. The violent standoff ended in the death of five persons.
Faces murder charge
Rampal, who heads Satlok Ashram in Hisar’s Barwala town, and others have been acquitted of rioting, unlawful assembly, obstructing public servants from performing their duties and wrongful confinement charge. He, however, still faces serious charges like murder, waging war and conspiracy in five more cases surrounding the 2014 ashram siege. The HC had earlier issued non-bailable warrants against him in a 2006 murder case.
Haryana to challenge verdict
The Haryana Government will file an appeal in the district court against the acquittal of Rampal and other accused, said district attorney Rajender Kumar. The next hearing in one of the five cases still being heard by the court is due on September 18.
(With agency inputs)