Chandigarh: The Haryana government on Friday said it has put on hold Rs. 51 lakh announced for the Dera Sacha Sauda in the wake of the conviction of sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in rape cases while the police hoped it would gather vital leads after questioning an arrested Dera functionary.
In a statement, Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said Rs. 51 lakh out of his discretionary funds quota to ‘Khel Gaon’ of Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa, stood withdrawn, keeping in view the verdict delivered by a CBI court convicting Ram Rahim Singh on August 25 in the rape cases.
The minister had announced the amount on August 16 during his visit to the Dera headquarters for the sect head’s week- long birthday celebrations.
Dera spokesperson Dilawar Insan, arrested on Thursday for allegedly inciting violence after the conviction of its chief in the rape cases, was sent to police custody on Friday for seven days by a court in Panchkula, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Panchkula, Manbir Singh said.
Dilawar, a core member of the Dera, was arrested from Sonipat district. He had gone underground after the conviction of the sect head and has been booked for sedition and other charges under the Indian Penal Code.
Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) BS Sandhu said the questioning of Dilawar could help in tracing the other key Dera functionaries including Honeypreet Insan, the adopted daughter of Ram Rahim Singh, and Aditya Insan against whom lookout notices have been issued.
His questioning could also throw light on the planning of the incidents of violence and arson in Panchkula and Sirsa which had left 41 people dead and scores of others injured, the police said.
The Dera head was sentenced on August 28 to 20 years in prison in the rape cases and at present is lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak.
Meanwhile, contingents of paramilitary troops and the Haryana Police have been deployed in Panchkula as security arrangements were tightened ahead of today’s hearing in two murder cases against Ram Rahim Singh.
Fifty-year-old Ram Rahim Singh will appear before a CBI special court here through video-conferencing from the Rohtak jail.
The CBI court is hearing the cases of murder of journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh.
“We have made adequate security arrangements ahead of the hearing in the cases,” Haryana DGP Sandhu said here.
The arrest of Dilawar assumed significance as he was one of the close aides of Ram Rahim Singh, state police officers said.
Tightening its noose around key members of the Dera, the Haryana Police had earlier said it would call Dera chairperson Vipassana Insan for questioning.
Honeypreet, a confidant of Ram Rahim Singh, and Aditya Insan, a key Dera functionary, remained elusive, while the police hoped that they were hiding in the country.
Haryana police had sent teams to states including Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in a bid to trace them, Panchkula Police Commissioner AS Chawla said.
“We are chasing our targets very seriously and are likely to arrest them soon,” he said.
The police had initiated efforts to trace Honeypreet, who calls herself as ‘Papa’s angel’, following the questioning of another arrested functionary of the sect Surinder Dhiman Insan in connection with an alleged conspiracy to facilitate Ram Rahim Singh’s escape after he was convicted for raping two of his disciples, the police had earlier said.
An FIR was lodged in Panchkula police station following the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after a statement by a newspaper reporter against Aditya and Surinder Dhiman Insan. The duo had been booked for sedition.
The police had also said that they needed to question Honeypreet on the basis of certain other disclosures by Surinder which made her role in the chain of events connected with the Dera a suspect.
Earlier, the police had arrested Chamkaur Singh, incharge of the Dera centre at Panchkula, and Dan Singh, another sect functionary.