Ram Rahim convicted: How CBI cracked the case amidst threats, political pressure
Witnesses were turning hostile by the dozen and to add to the problem were two murders. After several ups and downs, the Central Bureau of Investigation finally managed to nail Dera chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan.
For the CBI this was probably one of the most sensitive and difficult cases to handle. There was high pressure from the political circles. Adding to their woes was the witnesses turning hostile.
Officers that OneIndia spoke with say that despite the High Court order of 2002, the case progressed very slowly. It had become extremely important for us to secure the witness and ensure that they did not turn hostile.
To begin with there were 10 witnesses who were willing to testify. They were under immense pressure from the Dera followers. Eventually 8 of them backed out and only two managed to muster the courage and testify.
There was a time when one of the witnesses was surrounded by a host of Dera followers. They put immense pressure on the witness to back off. However the witness mustered the courage and still testified, the officer says.
The probe was led by M Narayan who retired from the CBI in 2009. The problem was that Ram Rahim enjoyed a cult status and his followers were blind their belief. They Dera tried pressurising the CBI through various channels. Politicians would call or land up in the CBI's office and ask them to go slow or drop the case entirely. Apart from the followers and their pressure, several politicians also calculated carefully the vote bank involved in this.
Questioning Ram Rahim was yet another herculean task. The CBI team was greeted by thousands of followers who refused to let them inside the ashram in 2007. The CBI team however stood its ground and insisted that he be questioned. They were checked multiple times, asked several questions before they were finally allowed to question the Dera chief.
Finally for the CBI it was the testimony of one witness which helped them crack the case. The case papers had to be thoroughly guarded and the witness protected. For the witness it was nothing short of a nightmare. The CBI had written to the state to provide the witness with adequate security.
Adding to the CBI's woes were also two murders. While the journalist who printed the unanimous letter alleging rape charges was shot dead, the brother of the victim was also killed during the course of the probe.