Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20 years in prison — 10 for each of the two cases, with the terms running consecutively — on Monday, August 28, after he was convicted of rape on Friday.
Given the violence that followed the announcement of he being convicted for rape, the judge hearing the case was flown in to the jail in Rohtak where Singh was lodged, and it was there that the quantum of his sentence was announced after lawyers from both sides argued over the sentence duration.
Singh reportedly broke down in prison and asked the judge for leniency, while his counsel pointed out his social work as reason to give him a reduced sentence.
Meanwhile, even before the sentence was pronounced, Dera supporters had torched a couple of cars in Sirsa in Haryana.
Here are the Live updates:
7:15 pm IST: There was some confusion over how long Singh will have to spend in prison. The CBI has clarified that the godman has been sentenced to 10 years of jail in each case, which means he will have to stay in prison for 20 years!
6:05 pm IST: So Punjab is taking no chances.
5:30 pm IST: The situation at the Dera headquarters is calm.
4:20 pm IST: The security forces are doing their best to keep peace in Sirsa.
Meanwhile, TV reports are saying Singh's lawyers will now move the Punjab and Haryana High Court to appeal against his conviction and sentencing.
3:45 pm IST: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says peace must prevail.
3:35 pm IST: Singh is currently undergoing medical check-up before he is taken to prison. Meanwhile, there are confirmed reports that he cried in court in an effort to plead for leniency.
3:30 pm IST: Singh gets 10 years in jail!
3:25 pm IST: The Dera chairperson has appealed for calm. Will the "Premis" heed her call?
Meanwhile, the judge has been told about the Sirsa violence, say some unconfirmed reports.
3:22 pm IST: It seems some Dera Sacha Sauda supporters have already resorted to violence by setting two cars on fire in Sirsa. And the quantum of violence is not even out yet!
3:15 pm IST: While Justice Jagdeep Singh decides on the fate of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, read about the special CBI judge himself!
3:05 pm IST: The judge has reportedly started reading out the verdict.
3 pm IST: Some local reports say Singh broke down in court while the arguments were being heard over his sentencing. He had appeared in court in all white.
The arguments have now finished, and the sentence will come in another few minutes.
2:50 pm IST: Some TV reports are claiming that Singh's lawyers are apparently planning to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the godman's rape conviction.
Meanwhile, as expected, the defence argues in front of special CBI judge Jagdeep Singh for a lighter sentence.
The prosecution, as expected, had called for punishment. of 10 years.
2:40 pm IST: The arguments begin. The prosecution will look for life sentence while the defence will ask for leniency.
2:20 pm IST: Now the jusge has also reached prison.
1:55 pm IST: Singh's lawyer reaches the prison where a meakeshift court has been set up for the self-styled godman's sentencing.
1:05 pm IST: Take a look at the harrowing tale of one of the followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh!
12:30 pm IST: Security around the jail where Singh is kept is really beefed up. Have a look:
11:55 am IST: The special CBI judge is on his way to Rohtak.
11:40 am IST: There is little by way of activity in Punjab and Haryana. Schools and colleges are shut, and people seem to have no intention of venturing out.
11 am IST: Punjab appears calm, thanks to untiring efforts from the armed forces.
10:40 am IST: The security forces are not taking any chances this time.
10:10 am IST: Security has been beefed up heavily around the jail where Singh is lodged.
10.06 am IST: 23 Dera followers have been arrested in Sangrur, reported ANI.
9.35 am IST: The district administration has directed schools in Shamli to remain shut today, according to Firstpost. No movement of people, other than those authorized, will be allowed within a distance of 10 km from the prison premises, IANS reported.
9.00 am IST: Haryana intelligence agency has said that violence may flare up in the state, on Monday, when the quantum of sentence is pronounced against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted of rape on Friday. To avoid another episode of violence, all routes to Sunaria jail in Rohtak have been sealed, News 18 reported.
8.48 am IST: Security checks being conducted at Haryana's Panchkula
8.45 am IST: Multi-layer security arrangements are in place. Special arrangments have been made for the media as well. Strict action will be taken against people if they do not respond to the warning. 23 paramilitary forces are in action, Rohtak IG Navdeep Singh to CNN-News18
8.21 am IST: In Haryana, a woman wanting to meet Dera chief at Sunaria jail, was arrested last night
8.20 am IST: Security beefed up outside Chandigarh chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar's house