ROHTAK, Aug 28 - A special CBI court today sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years in jail for rape of his two followers, holding he acted like a �wild beast� who did not even spare his own �pious� female disciples.
The court also said that Ram Rahim, 50, committed breach of gravest nature by sexually assaulting �such gullible and blind followers� and that he did not deserve any leniency.
Judge Jagdeep Singh in his 9-page order pronounced two sentences of 10 years rigorous imprisonment in each of the two rapes that date back to 2002, three days after the conviction of the Dera chief that sparked violence leaving 38 dead and scores injured in Haryana.
Defence lawyer SK Garg Narwana told reporters that both the sentences will run �consecutively� for a total of 20 years in jail for the dera chief, who has millions of followers and counts politicians as well as celebrities as his friends. He said the orders will be challenged.
The judge also fined the 50-year-old flamboyant guru Rs 15 lakh in each of the two offences, of which Rs 14 lakh each would go to the two victims who were part of his sect and were allegedly coerced into having sex with him.
�Having due regard to the peculiar fact and circumstances of the case, the court is of the view that if acts of the convict in sexually exploiting his own female disciples and intimidating them of dire consequences is taken note of, then such kind of persons does not deserve any kind of leniency from the court,� he said. �The convict did not even spare his own pious disciples and acted like a wild beast.�
�Both the victims put the accused on the pedestal of God and revered him like that only. However, the convict committed breach of gravest nature by sexually assaulting such gullible and blind followers.
�Such criminal act of a particular individual/convict who is stated to be heading a religious organisation known as Dera Sacha Sauda is bound to shatter images of pious and sacred spiritual social cultural and religious institutions existing in the country since time immemorial,� the judge said.
CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal also said that Ram Rahim will undergo a 10-year sentence in each of the two rape cases. The sentences will run consecutively and the total jail term is 20 years, he said in Delhi.
In another case of criminal intimidation (section 506 of IPC) the Dera chief has been sentenced to two years of imprisonment, Narwana said. �In section 506 of IPC, his term will run concurrently,� he said.
The defence counsel sought leniency while submitting that Dera chief was 50 years old and suffering from hypertension, acute diabetes and sever backache problem for last eight years. He also said that his client is into social work. The CBI counsel told the court that the Dera chief had projected himself as a godman and took undue advantage of his position and committed the rapes.
Media reports said Ram Rahim broke down and begged for forgiveness with folded hands when the first sentence was passed. He then refused to leave the court room, said the reports. � PTI