HC reserves order on Sant Rampal's bail plea after his supporters clash with police
Chandigarh/ Hisar: A day after issuing a fresh non-bailable warrant (NBW) against ‘godman' Rampal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved its judgement on cancellation of his bail in connection with a 2006 murder case.
During the hearing, the amicus curiae pressed for immediate cancellation of Rampal's bail, saying the “credibility of the entire judicial system” would be “at stake” if his bail was not cancelled.
Haryana government represented by state' Additional Advocate General also supported the amicus curiae and demanded cancellation of his bail in wake of his “unacceptable” conduct.
However, Rampal's counsel sought continuation of bail, saying he was granted exemption from personal appearance by the trial court.
“After hearing the arguments, the division bench comprising justices M Jeyapaul and Darshan Singh has reserved its judgement (on Rampal's bail cancellation). No time limit or date has been given as yet for pronouncing the judgement,” said amicus curiae and senior advocate Anupam Gupta.
Earlier, the supporters of Sant Rampal turned violent this morning as the police reached Satlok ashram to arrest the self-styled godman.
Supporters of Sant Rampal threw petrol bomb at the police from inside the ashram. They also started pelting stones at the police force. They are also reported to have fired at the police.
The police retaliated by resorting to lathi-charge. They also fired tear gas to disperse the supporters who were not allowing the police to enter the ashram. The Police ialso used water canon to control the crowd of Rampal supporters.
A number of people including police personnel were injured in the violence outside the Satlok Ashram.
The stand-off of several days between the authorities and Rampal's supporters took a violent turn as the Haryana government was racing against time to get hold of the ‘godman' to meet the deadline of Friday set by Punjab and Haryana High Court for producing him in a contempt case.
As security personnel including police and para-military forces stepped up efforts to disperse the followers, said to be in thousands inside the Ashram, they faced stiff resistance.
A senior police official said supporters of the ‘godman' were firing from inside the ashram but police was exercising maximum possible restraint to minimise casualties.
A portion of the outer wall of the ashram had been razed even as thick cloud of smoke was seen inside the premises.
Police also said that stones were being hurled at them from inside the Ashram as several followers and Rampal's ‘private army' had pitched themselves on the rooftop of the premises.
The high court had yesterday issued fresh NBW for November 21 against Rampal after he did not appear in a contempt case while slamming the Haryana government for “failing” to produce him before court. During the course of the over two-hours long hearing on Rampal's bail cancellation, Gupta submitted that there was a “compelling, overwhelming and incontrovertible” case of immediate cancellation of bail.
“Rampal and his followers have fortified themselves.... have created a state within a state, confronting the entire state apparatus and also created his own private army with weapons. He has been surrounded by a human shield comprising women and children and he has openly proclaimed his lack of faith in judiciary and judicial system and his refusal to cooperate or associate with the trial,” he said.
“This trial becomes secondary. What is primary important is that if his bail was not cancelled by the high court immediately, not only his trial will be frustrated, (but also) the credibility of the entire judicial system in this region over which the high court presides will be reduced to naught,” Gupta submitted.