Citing lack of evidence, a fast track court has acquitted 14 volunteers of Dera Sacha Sauda, a religious cult, who were charged with killing a Sikh in firing at suburban Mall three years ago.
The main accused, Jagdev Singh Gurudev Singh, was among those who were acquitted by Sewri Sessions Court Judge N P Dalvi yesterday for lack of evidence after being given the benefit of doubt.
According to forensic reports produced in the court, the bullets in the victim's body did not match with the gun allegedly used by the accused.
Defence lawyers Sudeep Pasbola and Sandeep Singh argued that prosecution had not proved the case as the bullets in the victim's body did not match with the weapons allegedly used in the crime. Hence, no case was made out against the accused.
Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam submitted that during the visit of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh on June 25, 2008, his personal bodyguards had allegedly fired at a crowd at Nirmal Lifestyle mall in suburban Mulund in which Balkar Singh, a Sikh, was killed.
The incident occurred when the Dera chief had gone to visit the shopping complex where members of the Sikh community were also present. An altercation broke out between the two groups.
The Sikhs had protested against the Dera chief's presence and hurled stones at him, prompting the other group to open fire. The firing had led to large-scale protests by the local Sikh community.
Later, the accused were arrested and charged with offences under Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and Bombay Police Act.
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh has a running feud with the Sikhs after he waded into a controversy in 2007 when, attired as Sikh Panth's 10th Guru --Guru Gobind Singh-- he served nectar to his disciples.