In a murder case involving Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed pronouncement of the judgement by the Special CBI Court in Panchkula scheduled on August 26.
The HC took the decision on August 24 after Jagsheer Singh, son of deceased Ranjeet Singh, moved an application seeking to transfer the case from "the Court of Special Judge, CBI, Panchkula to any other CBI Court in the States of Haryana, Punjab or U.T., Chandigarh", raising doubt upon the conduct of the Presiding Officer hearing the case and that of K.P. Singh, the Public Prosecutor of the CBI. While delivering the order, Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan has sought comments from the Presiding Officer.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been convicted for 20 years rigorous imprisonment regarding the allegation of rape of two women followers on 28.08.2017 and also stands convicted for life regarding murder of a Sirsa based journalist Ram Chander Chatterpati, who had published an article in his newspaper, regarding sexual exploitation of Sadhvis in Dera. He is presently lodged in the Sunaria jail in Rohtak district.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been accused of murdering Ranjeet Singh in 2002 as he suspected the latter's role in circulation of anonymous letter published by Chatterpati over alleged exploitation of Sadhvis in his Dera.
For transferring the case, R.S. Bains, the Senior Counsel for Jagsheer Singh, raised grounds that the case is being adjourned a number of times and even the public prosecutor has been seeking time. "Everything has been manipulated through the respondent No.2. (K.P.Singh). A complaint has been filed against the Presiding Officer related to some other trial to the Chief Justice of the court."
Alleging influence upon the Presiding Officer, it was submitted by the Counsel that, "Respondent No.2 – K.P. Singh, Public Prosecutor for CBI, was previously posted with the Special Judge, CBI, Chandigarh,when the Presiding Officer was posted at Chandigarh and after his transfer to Panchkula, he has been interfering in the administration of justice and is influencing the entire proceedings despite the fact that there are two other Special Public Prosecutors appointed for the trial. The presence of respondent No.2 is suspicious as rather assisting the Special Public Prosecutor, he is having a fiduciary relationship over the Presiding Officer."
After hearing the counsel, Justice Sangwan noted, "Learned senior counsel for the petitioner has, thus submitted that the petitioner has reasonable apprehension that he may not get justice from the Special Judge, CBI Court, Panchkula. Considering the aforesaid submissions made by learned senior counsel for the petitioner, it would be appropriate to seek comment of learned Presiding Officer/Special Judge, CBI, Panchkula."
The Court further noted, "Mr. Sumeet Goel, Sr. Advocate, who is appearing through video conferencing along with Mr. A.K. Ranolia, Advocate, accepts notice on behalf of the respondent No.1 – CBI and submits that Mr. K.P. Singh, Public Prosecutor, has been deputed with the said Court. List again on 27.08.2021. Till the next date of hearing, final pronouncement of the judgment shall remain stayed." The court also ordered that, "The CBI will also file a specific affidavit about the appointment of Mr. K.P. Singh, Public Prosecutor for CBI Court at Panchkula, along with his posting order with the reply, if any."