National News

Haryana Police find secret tunnel connecting Dera chief Ram Rahim’s quarters with his followers’

There was heavy security around the campus during the second day of the mammoth search operation.

The Haryana Police on Saturday sealed an illegal explosives factory inside the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa, as the mammoth search operation of the campus entered its second day. Police also discovered a tunnel that connected Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s quarters with where his followers stayed.

The search operations were massive, consisting of 41 paramilitary companies, four Army columns, police officers from four districts, one Special Weapons and Tactics team, a dog squad and a bomb squad.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the search and appointed retired Judge Anil Kumar Singh Pawar to supervise it, after the police seized a cache of 33 licensed weapons from the premises. This came after Singh was convicted of raping two of his followers and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

On Friday, the first day of searches, teams found computer hard disk drives, an unregistered Lexus car, an outside broadcasting van, Rs 7,000 in demonetised currency, Rs 12,000 cash and some medicines without labels on the campus of the controversial sect. The search team is also believed to have found skeletons, a luxury Lexus car, 1,500 pairs of shoes and designer clothes. Plastic money used by the sect’s followers were also found at the site.

Two boys and three men were also found inside the Dera premises on Friday.

About the campus

The Dera campus, spread over 600 acres, houses a stadium, a hospital, educational institutes, a luxury resort, bungalows and markets. The gufa (cave), where Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh lived, is a 100-acre area, which only the close associates of the Dera were allowed to enter. The woman who complained against Ram Rahim had said she had been called into the “cave” before being assaulted.

On August 28, a Central Bureau of Investigation court sentenced Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years in prison for raping two of his followers in 2002.

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