Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Thursday walked out of jail after he was granted a 30-day parole, PTI reported.

Singh, who is lodged in the Sunaria jail in Haryana’s Rohtak district, walked out around 5 pm.

Singh was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 2017 for raping two of his women disciples at the Dera headquarters in the Sirsa district. In 2021, he and four others were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the murder case of Ranjit Singh, a former manager of his sect.

This is the fifth time since last year that the Dera chief has been allowed to be out on parole.

He was granted a 40-day parole in January and October last year. Prior to that, the sect leader was released on month-long parole ahead of the Sangrur bye-election in Punjab in June last year. In February, he was granted a 21-day furlough ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections.

A prisoner is granted parole based on an urgent demand or need, a furlough can be given without any reason after serving a stipulated amount of time in prison.

In March, the Punjab government had told the High Court that granting frequent parole to Singh may lead to law and order problems in the state.

The state government had taken the stance during the hearing a petition filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee seeking the cancellation of Singh’s January parole.

The Punjab government had told the court that Singh was granted parole without any cogent reason.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Haryana government had supported Singh’s parole saying that the Dera Sacha Sauda chief does not fall under the definition of a hardcore prisoner and cannot be termed a serial killer.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had also said that he would not interfere with the parole granted to Singh.