Dera headquarters search Day 2: Tunnel connecting Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's gufa to sadhvis' hostel found

Ram Rahim was convicted on two counts of rape of two female disciples in 1999 by a CBI special court in Panchkula on August 25.

Dera headquarters search Day 2: Tunnel connecting Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's gufa to sadhvis' hostel found

Chandigarh: A tunnel and a passageway connecting Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's quarters to the hostel of his female disciples were unearthed on the second day of the massive sanitisation exercise at the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa on Sunday.

The sanitisation process, which was initiated on the orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court concluded at 6:30 pm.

The search operation of the Dera premises with hundreds of security personnel and local administration involved in the exercise will continue on Sunday.

The search revealed an illegal factory inside the premises. An empty box of AK 47 cartridges, 84 cartons of fire crackers and chemicals from the illegal factory, besides hundreds of pairs of shoes, designer clothing and caps, were also found.

Two secret tunnels

A window-shaped secret tunnel that connected Dera chief's private residence also known as gufa or terawas to the sadhvis (female disciples) hostel was found during the search.

The second tunnel led to a mud path which looked like a secret escape route opening out about five km away.

Divulging the details of the search operation, state Information and Public Relations Department Deputy Director, Satish Mehra said, "From the 'gufa' where the Dera head used to stay, a passageway was found which opens to 'Sadhvi Niwas', (where his female disciples were kept)."

Mehra, who is the authorised person to speak to the media, said, "A fibre tunnel too was located during the search of the Dera," adding that the tunnel is filled with mud. "The Dera Niwas is connected to Sadhvi Niwas," he further said.

The search operation to sanitise the sect premises started on Friday amid tight security with a few computers, a luxury SUV and currency notes being seized.

The Haryana government has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure that the search operation of the Dera headquarters is carried out smoothly.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had appointed Court Commissioner AK Pawar to supervise the mammoth search operation. The entire process is also being videographed.

The operation started on Friday amid tight security and curfew in the area on Friday morning.

The Dera is spread over two campuses, 600 acres and over 100 acres respectively, about eight km from Sirsa and 260 km from Chandigarh.

It houses a stadium, a hospital, educational institutions, luxury resort, bungalows and markets. Hundreds of people and sect followers permanently live and work in the mini-township.

The premises, where the sect chief lived, known as the "gufa" (cave), is itself spread over an area of nearly 100 acres. It is said to have ultra-luxury facilities.

The campus has palatial bungalows of his other family members, none of whom are on the premises since August 25, when the sect chief was convicted of rape and sent to jail.

The maverick self-styled godman was on August 25 convicted of rape by CBI judge Jagdeep Singh for the rape of two female disciples in 1999. He was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.