Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has revealed that there was “a big conspiracy” to let Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim escape from Panchkula court soon after his conviction for rape but the security forces foiled the plan.
“There is an element of truth (in conspiracy angle). There was a big conspiracy to help Ram Rahim escape if he was convicted, but our police and paramilitary forces foiled their plan and he was sent to jail,” Khattar told India TV.
He said that Ram Rahim had Z+ security and eight policemen from Punjab Police who had been sent to escort him.
“Under whose authority they were sent, we do not know. While five policemen from Haryana in his security had one weapon each, all these eight Punjab Police men had two weapons each. We arrested five of our policemen, immediately suspended and later dismissed them. We also arrested these eight Punjab policemen,” he said clearly indicating that some Punjab Police personnel could have been part of the plot to let Ram Rahim escape.
The Chief Minister said it was a very “risky” proposition to bring Ram Rahim to Panchkula court on August 25.
Asked whether he was under pressure from the Dera chief to allow his followers to assemble in Panchkula, Khattar said: “No, there was no pressure. But in view of our past experience with self-styled godman Rampal in November 2014, we were careful this time.
“We were faced with a situation in which Ram Rahim could have refused to appear in court and give an excuse. There were one lakh followers inside his dera and nearly one lakh outside and our forces including the army, would have been sandwiched in between. You can just imagine the situation,” he said.
Asked why thousands of the Dera chief’s followers were allowed to come to Panchkula, he replied: “We did not welcome them. We took measures, stopped buses and train, posted 17 barriers around Panchkula. The town of Panchkula has only 30 per cent border with Haryana and the remaining 70 per cent with Punjab and Chandigarh. We could not have closed down the Himachal-Punjab NH-22.”
Khattar said that his government wanted to avoid any flareup before August 25 otherwise it could have given Ram Rahim an excuse not to appear in court.
“We did not want to take chances so that he could get excuses not to appear in court.”
Asked why the Dera chief was allowed to travel in a cavalcade of 200 vehicles, he said: “The case was between the CBI and Ram Rahim. Our government had no role in it. We could not stop anybody from travelling. It was immaterial whether he travelled in a cavalcade of 200 cars, or a thousand, or 2,000 or 8,000 cars. Had we stopped his cavalcade, he could have refused to appear in court.
“So the number of vehicles was irrelevant. We were not worried about that. I would give credit to our intelligence guys who told us in which vehicle he was sitting. Since the court had allowed only two vehicles, these two vehicles were allowed to come in.”
Khattar justified sending Ram Rahim to Rohtak jail in a helicopter. “In the highly charged atmosphere after his conviction, we could not have taken the risk of travelling by road.”