Luxury car, old notes, hard disks seized from Ram Rahim`s Dera Sacha Sauda HQ; rooms sealed
A luxury car without a registration plate, old currency notes and several hard disks containing crucial information were on Friday seized from the headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda, a sect whose head - Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh `Insaan` - is in jail after being convicted for rape.
Sirsa: A luxury car without a registration plate, old currency notes and several hard disks containing crucial information were on Friday seized from the headquarters of the Sacha Sauda Dera, a sect whose head – Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh 'Insaan' - is in jail after being convicted for rape of two sadhvis.
In a mammoth search operation being carried out by security forces and district authorities, some rooms were also sealed and unlabelled medicines recovered, Haryana's Information and Public Relations Deputy Director, Satish Mehra, who had been authorised by the administration to speak to the media, said.
"Some rooms have been sealed, computer hard disk drives, unregistered Lexus car, an OB van, Rs 7,000 of demonetised currency, Rs 12,000 cash and some pharma medicines without labels or a brand name are among other items which have been seized," he said.
The exercise was being conducted amid tight security by police and paramilitary personnel, besides senior officials of various government departments.
Though not much was revealed by the officials regarding the recoveries, sources said that a couple of rooms in one of the buildings inside the Dera HQ had been sealed and that the search operation could take a long time.
The search operation began around 8 am amid tight security and curfew remained clamped in the area on Friday. The media was stopped at some distance from the Dera premises to avoid any controversy.
JCB machines, locksmiths, forensic experts and dog squads were called in to assist a comprehensive search operation launched by security agencies and district authorities at the Dera premises.
Internet services in Sirsa district were suspended by local authorities.
The search was being conducted under the supervision of court commissioner AKS Pawar appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Senior district administration and police officers, along with para-military forces and Haryana Police, were involved in the video-graphed operation around the sprawling 700-acre campus. Duty magistrates were appointed for various zones of the Dera.
Officials from police, Revenue, Health, Education, Tourism and other departments also participated. Bomb disposal squads and commandos were also deployed inside as a preventive measure.
All roads leading to the headquarters from Sirsa and nearby places were sealed.
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 in the premises since August 25, when the sect chief was convicted of rape and sent to jail.
Security was tightened around the Dera headquarters since Wednesday following the approval granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the state government to "search and sanitise" the premises.
Dera administration chairperson Vipassana, who is a close aide of the sect head, had issued an appeal to sect followers urging them to cooperate in the search operation.
Hours before the search operation began, the sect`s mouthpiece "Sach Kahoon" on Thursday admitted that human remains were buried inside the premises. The Dera newspaper, while defending the action of the Dera management in burying the human remains, said this was done as the sect chief encouraged followers to donate the remains to the sect for burial and prevent these from being immersed in rivers, causing pollution.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted on two counts of rape of two female disciples in 1999 by a CBI special court in Panchkula on August 25. He was later sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and is lodged in the District Jail at Sunaria near Rohtak.
His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several other places in Punjab.
With Agency inputs