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Self-styled godman acquitted in two criminal cases

Self-styled godman acquitted in two criminal cases
Sant Rampal, Pic: The Hindu

Hisar: The self-styled godman ‘Sant Rampal’ got acquitted on Tuesday by a Hisar court in connection with two criminal cases registered against him. The court as a reason had cited lack of evidence.

Hisar Judicial Magistrate Mukesh Kumar pronounced the verdict, acquitting Rampal, head of Satlok Ashram, Barwala and his followers. “The court has acquitted Rampal in both the cases,” said Rampal’s counsel A.P. Singh.

On August 24, the judge had adjourned the date of hearing to August 29 after the police cited tension due to the Dera Sacha Sauda case.

On November 17, 2014, a case was registered against Rampal and his followers under Sections 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public function), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (Assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty) of the IPC, as per a report by The Hindu.

Another case was registered against Sant Rampal again, along with his followers Purshotam Dass, Raj Kumar, Mohinder Singh, Rajender Singh, Rahul and 30-40 other persons on November 18, 2014 on a complaint of Sukhdev Singh of Ratia (Fatehabad) for rioting, unlawful assembly, disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant and wrongfully confining any person.

The self-styled godman was arrested after a tense conflict between some of his supporters and the police after around 15,000 of his followers were shifted in 2014 from the ashram premises. The standoff had then turned violent, resulting in the death of five persons.

Rampal had resisted a police operation for his arrest on the Punjab and Haryana court orders. He had even refused to appear in the High Court to reply to charges of contempt of court. He had holed himself up inside his ashram in Barwala, Hisar.

However, Rampal would remain in jail as he is facing other charges including sedition, the defense counsel said.