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Self-styled godman Rampal acquitted, but to remain in jail

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 29, 2017 21:36 IST
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A court in Hisar on Tuesday acquitted self-styled godman Rampal in two cases related to rioting, unlawful assembly and use of force but he won't walk free as he is facing several other charges including murder.

Judicial Magistrate Mukesh Kumar granted the relief to the 66-year-old head of Satlok Ashram in Barwala and his followers at a makeshift court set up inside Hisar central jail, citing lack of evidence.

The court was hearing cases of alleged assault, obstructing public servant in discharge of public function, rioting, unlawful assembly, use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty and other charges.

The two cases were registered against Rampal and his followers in November 2014.

He was acquitted in the two cases under IPC sections 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 426 (mischief), 147 (rioting), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), and 342 (wrongful confinement.)

"The court has acquitted Rampal in both the cases," his counsel A P Singh told reporters.

On August 24, the judge had deferred the date of hearing for Tuesday after the police cited tension in the wake of the Dera Sacha Sauda case.

Rampal was arrested after a tense standoff between his supporters and the police after close to 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from the sprawling 12-acre Satlok ashram premises at Barwala in 2014.

In November 2014, Rampal had holed himself up inside his ashram in Haryana and his armed followers had clashed with police and paramilitary personnel. The violent incident had left six people dead.

Rampal had even ignored the high court summons as he had failed to appear in the court in the 2006 murder case. Then a non-bailable warrant was issued by the high court in the contempt case.

During search of his ashram, a huge cache of arms, a private swimming pool, state-of-the-art elevators and 24 AC rooms with one having a massage bed were found inside the highly-fortified Satlok Ashram from where Rampal was taken out in 2014.

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