The Haryana Police is investigating claims that top Dera Sacha Sauda functionaries paid a ‘supari’ (contract) of Rs 5 crore to criminal elements to instigate violence in Panchkula and other places after sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction for rape.
Haryana Director General of Police B.S. Sandhu said that the matter was under investigation.
“We are investigating this. We are trying to nab two Dera functionaries, Chamkaur Singh and Nain, who are said to be involved in this,” he said.
The disgraced sect chief was convicted by a special CBI court on August 25 for the rape of two female disciples in 1999. He was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.
His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab.
Police sources said that interrogation of some of the arrested Dera activists had revealed a plot in which Rs 5 crore was paid as ‘supari’ to criminal elements to instigate violence.
The Haryana Police had, last week, arrested five Dera followers in Ambala city and recovered Rs 38 lakh in cash from them, and are investigating the money link from the Dera side to instigate violence.
Security was tightened around the Dera headquarters near Sirsa town on Wednesday following the approval granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Haryana government to search and sanitise the premises.
The search is likely to begin on Friday.
Retired District and Sessions Judge A.K.S. Pawar, who was appointed as the Court Commissioner by the high court on Tuesday to oversee the search and sanitisation operation of the Dera premises, arrived in Sirsa on Thursday.The Dera is spread in two campuses, 600 acres and over 100 acres each, about 8 km from Sirsa town (260 km from Chandigarh).
Armed security personnel from central paramilitary forces and Haryana police were stationed outside the Dera premises. Bomb disposal squads and dog squads have also been stationed near the Dera premises.
“There is complete peace in Haryana since August 25. There are 131 companies of para-military forces deployed in Haryana,” the DGP said.
Dera administration chairperson Vipassana, who is a close aide of the sect head, said that the Dera management was fully prepared for the conduct of the search and sanitising operation.
“We are cooperating with the local administration. All weapons of the Dera and individual inside (the premises) have been deposited with the authorities. We have nothing to hide. The premises can be searched anytime,” Vipassana said.
The Haryana government had sought the high court’s permission to undertake sanitisation under judicial supervision.
Authorities in Haryana have carried out sanitisation of 117 ‘Naam Charcha Ghars’ associated with the Dera, where its followers assemble for prayers and discussions.”Some objectionable items were seized during searches at their premises following the arrest of convicted Dera chief,” Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Monday.
The sprawling Dera headquarters houses a stadium, hospital, educational institutions, a resort, houses, markets, and other infrastructure. Huge bungalows of the sect chief (spread in nearly 100 acres) and his family members are also located inside.Hundreds of people and sect followers permanently live inside the mini-township and work there.