Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

Chandigarh: Dera Sacha Sauda chief and rape-murder convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's application for parole to tend to his farms is under process with reports being sought from the revenue and police departments, a senior Sirsa district official said on Tuesday.

Ram Rahim, behind bars in Sunaria jail in Haryana's Rohtak district after being convicted in two rape cases and in the murder of a journalist, has sought 42 days parole to look after his fields in Sirsa district.

Sirsa Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Garg said things are under process and reports have been sought from the revenue and police departments. "At this stage, all I can say is that things are under process," Garg said on phone.

The 51-year-old sect chief, also facing trial in the murder of a Dera follower Ranjit Singh and in another case involving castration of sect followers, got a favourable report from the jail superintendent who said his conduct had been good and he had not violated any rule.

On Monday, police in Sirsa, where the Dera is headquartered, said it will prepare its report keeping in view the merits and demerits of the plea. A Sirsa police official had earlier said the revenue department would ascertain how much land the Dera chief owns.

The Sirsa district administration has been asked to submit a report to the commissioner of Rohtak division with a copy marked to the jail superintendent.

In Ram Rahim's case, the Rohtak commissioner is empowered to exercise the powers of the state government in deciding parole request. Before taking a decision, the recommendation from the Sirsa district administration will be taken into account, officials said.

State Health Minister Anil Vij said Ram Rahim or any other prisoner is entitled to seek parole if criteria are met as per the law. Vij said the parole issue should not be linked with the upcoming State Assembly polls.

"There is no connection between the two. If under law, any convict is entitled to apply for parole he is free to do so. However, whether to grant one or not will be decided by concerned authorities after taking various factors into account," he said in response to queries from reporters.

In August 2017, the flamboyant Dera chief was sentenced to 20 years in jail for raping two women. The violence which broke out after his conviction left 41 persons dead in Panchkula and Sirsa and scores injured. A special CBI court in Panchkula in January this year also sentenced him and three others to life imprisonment for the murder of a journalist over 16 years ago.

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Free Press Journal