Sep 15, 2017

Four Indian police officers arrested over 'escape plan' for guru jailed for rape

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh arrives at a press conference for his movie "MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart," in New Delhi, India. CREDIT: AP
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh arrives at a press conference for his
movie "MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart," in New Delhi, India.

Saptarshi Ray
The Telegraph
September 15, 2017

Four Indian police officers have been arrested over a suspected conspiracy to help the guru of a religious sect flee from a court after he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the rape of two followers.

Detectives from the north Indian state of Haryana arrested five people, including the four police officers, for allegedly planning to aid the escape of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the 50-year old head of the Dera Sacha Sauda or Place of Truth ashram, after his conviction last month.

Singh is often referred to as the "Guru of Bling" or a "God Man", and has thousands of followers across several states. The end of his trial resulted in rioting that left 38 people dead and 200 injured.

Three Haryana police commandos were arrested in the city of Panchkula, while a Rajasthan Police officer, Om Prakash, was held in the state's city of Hanumangarh. The arrested commandos were identified as Head Constables Amit Kumar and Rajesh Kumar, and Constable Rajesh Kumar.

Panchkula Police's Commissioner A S Chawla said, “Three arrested Haryana Police commandos, along with other police personnel from Punjab, Chandigarh and Rajasthan, were found present in Panchkula on August 25. They were in Panchkula in police uniform.

"The three Haryana Police commandos were summoned but they could not give any satisfactory reply as to why they came to Panchkula on that day.”

Separately, a fifth person, Dilawar Insaan, was also arrested in connection with the case.

After the court pronounced Singh guilty, at least five of the seven officers guarding the guru allegedly tried to free him.

They were arrested and charged with sedition. The officers were assigned to Singh as his security detail but had allegedly become his followers over the years.

Meanwhile, security has been increased in Panchkula ahead of a crucial hearing in two separate murder cases against Singh and others, due to be heard this weekend.

The cases, related to the murder of a journalist, Ram Chander Chhatrapati, and the former Dera manager, Ranjit Singh, allegedly by followers of the guru will be held in the same court that convicted Singh of rape.

There are no reports of followers congregating unlike during the lead-up to the rape trial, when over 100,000 of them filed into the city.

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