Two key followers of jailed cult leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh continued to evade the police, which today said it was conducting raids in Mumbai and areas near Nepal in search of the fugitives.
The Haryana police said it was in touch with security forces in other states and was hopeful the two Dera Sacha Sauda functionaries, Honeypreet Insan and Aditya Insan, would soon be arrested. “We are hopeful of arresting them soon,” Haryana Director General of Police BS Sandhu said.
The police had sent a team to Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh bordering Nepal in search of Honeypreet, a confidante of the self-styled godman serving a 20-year-old jail term for two rape cases.
It suspected that she may have left for Nepal through the porous India-Nepal border.
Haryana Police on September 1 had issued a lookout notice for the two, fearing that they could leave the country. “We are conducting raids at various places and our teams have gone to different areas including Mumbai and near Nepal. We are also in touch with the local police of other states,” Mr Sandhu said.
The DGP said the Dera Sacha Sauda had also appealed to the two to cooperate with the police.
Sirsa-headquartered Dera chairperson Vipassana Insan had earlier said Honeypreet and Dera spokesperson Aditya Insan should help the investigations. She had also claimed that the Dera had no contact with them.
To a query on the whereabouts of the two, the DGP said the police was working on some leads. “We are making efforts to nab them. We have some leads,” he said.
The police initiated efforts to trace Honeypreet, the adopted “daughter” of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, who describes herself as “Papa’s angel”, after it arrested and questioned another sect functionary, Surinder Dhiman Insan, in connection with an alleged conspiracy to help Ram Rahim Singh escape after his conviction by a special CBI court in Panchkula on August 25.
“We will also question both (Honeypreet and Aditya) after arresting them in order to verify what Surinder Dhiman Insan has told the police and find out what actually happened in the whole matter,” the DGP said.
An FIR was earlier lodged in the Panchkula police station following a statement by a newspaper reporter against Aditya and Surinder Dhiman. The duo have been booked for sedition.
Police had also said that they needed to question Honeypreet on the basis of certain other disclosures made by Surinder, which turned the spotlight on her role in the chain of events connected to the issue.
Violence broke out at Panchkula after Ram Rahim Singh’s conviction, leaving 35 dead, while six others were killed in violent incidents in Sirsa.
Honeypreet, said to be in her mid 30s, is considered among Ram Rahim’s possible successors as the head of the sect. However, Vipassana had earlier said there was no move to immediately name a successor.
The 50-year-old Dera chief, who is lodged in the Sunaria Jail in Rohtak, had been sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by the CBI court for the 2002 rapes of two of his disciples.
Earlier, five Haryana policemen, who were part of Ram Rahim’s security when he travelled from Sirsa to the CBI court on August 25, were charged with sedition and dismissed from service over the alleged conspiracy to help him escape.
Honeypreet had accompanied Ram Rahim Singh when he was brought to the special court for the pronouncement of the verdict in the 15-year-old rape cases. She also travelled with him in a chopper which ferried them to Rohtak from Panchkula after the conviction.
Honeypreet acted in the film ‘MSG 2 – The Messenger’ and had a guest appearance in ‘MSG – The Warrior Lion Heart’, in which the Dera chief played the lead roles.