The Supreme Court today allowed the former driver of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to depose afresh in the murder cases of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and dera follower Ranjit Singh.
The top court dismissed the appeal of the Dera chief against the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court allowing his former driver Khatta Singh to depose afresh in the two murder cases.
“Sometime you don’t need to interfere when you know the harsh reality of life,” a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said while dismissing his appeal.
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for Dera chief, said Khatta Singh had himself said in his deposition in 2012 that CBI has been putting pressure on him to depose against Ram Rahim. He said Singh had denied any knowledge of the dera chief’s involvement in these cases.
“If his fresh deposition is allowed, then my entire defence in the case will go away,” Luthra said, adding that Khatta Singh was not a reliable witness.
The bench said it would not like to interfere with the high court order but clarified that the trial court shall not be influenced by the observations of the court.
Khatta Singh, who had retracted his statement in 2012, had approached the special CBI court last year after the dera chief’s conviction in rape cases, seeking permission to record his statements afresh regarding Ram Rahim’s role in the two murder cases.
Singh had claimed that he had changed his testimony earlier due to threat from the Dera chief and his goons and not the CBI.
The Special CBI Court had dismissed Khatta Singh’s application for fresh deposition after which he had moved High Court, which had allowed him to depose again.
Singh had told the CBI in 2007 he had information about the meeting between Ram Rahim and his men, before Dera follower Ranjit Singh was murdered on July 10, 2002.
He had also claimed to have information about Ram Rahim directing his men to murder Ram Chander Chhatrapati, the editor of a Sirsa-based newspaper. Khatta Singh had later turned hostile during his testimony in the CBI court in February 2012.
On August 28 last year, Gurmeet Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in prison for rape and sexual exploitation of two of his women followers between 1999 and 2001.