NEW DELHI – A special CBI court on Monday sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years in prison after his conviction in two rape cases.
CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh pronounced two sentences of 10 years rigorous imprisonment in each of the two cases that date back to 2002, according to defence lawyer S.K. Garg Narwana.
He said both sentences would run consecutively for a total of 20 years in jail for the flamboyant guru, who has lakhs of followers and counts politicians as well as celebrities as his friends.
Justice Singh also fined him Rs. 15 lakh in each of the two cases, of which Rs. 14 lakh each would go to the two victims who were part of his sect and were coerced into having sex with him.
The court had been set up in the jail where a judge has arrived in a government helicopter to sentence spiritual guru, who is the head of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, in a 2002 rape case, India media reported.
Thousands of troops have been deployed to guard the prison in Haryana following threats of violent protests.
Today, the army is alert and can enter the premises of town in about an hour if any uncertain situation happens, said military sources. The Rohtak police has warned that it may shoot at any sign of trouble.
Police have banned supporters from gathering near the Rohtak prison and into the city.
During the hearing, the prosecution asked the court to award the convict ten years imprisonment, while defence pleaded the court to award five years sentence as his health condition is not stable.
The convict also burst into tears before the judge and sought forgiveness for his wrongdoings.
Judge Jagdeep Singh had on Friday convicted Ram Rahim of raping two women followers.
After his conviction, violence protests erupted across India during which at least 38 people died and nearly 200 were injured.