While self-styled godman and tainted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is cooling his heels in the prison for raping two sadhvis 15 years ago, there might be more trouble for him in the offing. The Dera chief is also being tried in two separate murder cases, the hearing of which is scheduled for Saturday, September 16.

The Dera chief will face trial in the two cases in the special CBI court through video conferencing.

Ram Rahim is accused of murdering Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh. While he may not have killed the said people on his own, his followers and henchmen are said to have carried out the killings on the Dera chief's orders. Chhatrapati and Ranjit were killed in 2002.

After the violence that erupted in Haryana and parts of Delhi on August 28, when Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the two rape cases, the Haryana police is taking no chances and security in Panchkula has been tightened. Police forces, as well as contingents of paramilitary troops, have been deployed in the town.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh set to make a film on surgical strikes
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the chief of Dera Sacha SaudaIANS

"We have made adequate security arrangements ahead of the hearing in the cases," the Press Trust of India quoted Haryana Director General of Police B S Sandhu as saying. "The hearing in the cases against Ram Rahim, who is lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak, will be conducted through video conferencing."

Murder of Chhatrapati

Sirsa-based scribe Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002, after his evening newspaper Poora Sach published an anonymous letter that detailed how Ram Rahim sexually exploited his women followers at the Dera headquarters. The scribe died later.

Murder of Ranjit Singh

The Dera manager was shot dead in 2002 as the Dera suspected that he had a hand in the circulation of the anonymous letter.

Both the victims' families had approached the court, after which the CBI filed a charge sheet on July 30, 2007.

Ram Rahim would have been in Himachal had the escape plan worked out 

It was earlier reported that Ram Rahim's adopted daughter Honeypreet had hatched an escape plan for the Dera chief after his conviction in the two rape cases. It has now come to light that the Haryana police commandos who were in-charge of Ram Rahim's security planned to whisk him away to Himachal Pradesh and hide him there.

Ram Rahim in jail
Soon after he was declared guilty, Gurmeet Ram Rahim demanded a "red bag" he had brought from Sirsa. [Representational image]Creative commons

This particularly would not have been difficult, considering Himachal has a number of followers of the sect, who could have helped sheltering the convict. It was planned that he would be moved to another location in the country, once the chaos settled, reported the Times of India.

However, this escape plan was foiled by the Haryana Police and the commandos, who were a part of this plan, were arrested. While the arrest has been confirmed, Panchkula DCP Manbir Singh refused to talk about the case and said: "This is a matter of investigation. We are looking for more people who are part of this conspiracy (to free Gurmeet). Some of them played significant roles on in violence in the city which erupted after the Dera head was convicted."