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Self-styled godman Rampal acquitted in 2 criminal cases, to remain in jail

Guru Rampal was arrested in 2014 from his ashram in Haryana, 170 kms from Delhi. Photograph: (DNA)

Hisar, Haryana, India Aug 29, 2017, 10.02 AM (IST)

A court in Haryana on Tuesday acquitted Satguru Rampalji Maharaj, a self-styled godman from the state, in the two criminal cases against him - including rioting - citing lack of evidence.

Rampal will, however, have to remain in jail as other charges, including murder and sedition, are pending against him, his lawyer AP Singh said.

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Rampal was arrested in 2014 after a tense standoff between some his supporters and the police after close to 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from the sprawling ashram premises in Barnala. The stand-off had turned violent resulting in the death of five persons.

A case was registered against Rampal and his followers in 2014 under sections 186 (Obstructing a public servant in discharge of public function), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (Assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty) of the Indian Penal Code.

A separate case of rioting against Rampal and his followers was registered for rioting, unlawful assembly, disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant and wrongfully confining any person.

He has been charged with ordering his followers to fire on villagers in 2006. One person was killed and six injured in the incident. The verdict in this case is still awaited.

 

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