Dera chief ‘looked pale’ during video conference in court: Slain scribe’s son

Chandigarh, January 11

Age seems to be catching up with Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, once known as ‘Rockstar Baba’ and ‘Guru of Bling’ for his embellished clothes.

His beard has gone grey and his face “looked pale” as he appeared via video conferencing before a special CBI court on Friday, son of slain scribe Ram Chander Chhatarpati, Anshul Chhatarpati, said.

Ram Chander was killed in Haryana’s Sirsa in 2002 after his newspaper published an anonymous letter alleging sexual exploitation of women by the self-styled godman. The court convicted Singh and three others for the journalist’s murder.

The 51-year-old sect head was named as the main conspirator in the case.

Anshul said while his family got emotional on hearing the court’s verdict, Singh appeared shocked.

Already serving a 20-year sentence for raping two of his followers, the self-styled godman is staring at a life term or capital punishment after he was found guilty of murder and criminal conspiracy.

The quantum of punishment will be announced by the court on January 17.

Before being convicted in the rape case in August 2017, Singh was known for his lavish lifestyle, a penchant for modified motorbikes, his music videos and scripting, directing and starring in his films.

The burly, bearded man was also known for his love for sports and apparently holds dozens of records, including those for the world’s largest vegetable mosaic and largest finger painting.

Singh’s Twitter account, now suspended, described him as “Spiritual saint/Philanthropist/Versatile singer/All-rounder sportsperson/Film director/Actor/Art director/Music director/Writer/Lyricist/Autobiographer/DOP”.

He is also facing trial for allegedly forcing 400 of his followers to undergo castration in a bid to “get closer to god”, besides allegedly murdering former Dera manager Ranjit Singh in 2002. PTI

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