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Operation to arrest Rampal cost over Rs 26 crore

Rampal in police custody

Chandigarh, Nov 28 (PTI) The massive operation to locate and arrest controversial ‘godman’ Rampal cost the exchequer over Rs 26 crore, the Punjab and Haryana High Court was today told.

Amidst tight security, Rampal was produced before a division bench of justices M Jeyapaul and Darshan Singh here which adjourned the case to December 23 when Rampal would be produced along with co-accused Ram Pal Dhaka and O P Hooda.

Haryana DGP S N Vashisht submitted a detailed report of the operation at Satlok Ashram at Barwala in Hisar leading to the arrest of Rampal after large-scale violence.

The states of Haryana and Punjab besides the Chandigarh Administration and Union of India submitted reports of the expenditure incurred in connection with the operation to arrest Rampal for production in the High Court in the contempt case.

As per the figures presented by the states, Haryana spent Rs 15.43 crore on locating and arresting Rampal, Punjab Rs 4.34 crore, Chandigarh Administration Rs 3.29 crore and Union of India Rs 3.55 crore, totaling Rs 26.61 crore

The bench asked the Director General of Police (DGP), Haryana, to submit medical report of those injured.

The court also asked the police to verify the antecedents of 909 arrested in connection with the violence at Satlok Ashram at Barwala for arresting Rampal.

Police have been asked to ascertain whether any of those arrested had retired from the police or were ex-servicemen or were serving in the police and related agencies.

63-year-old Rampal was arrested on November 19 after a two-week tense standoff between his supporters and the police after close to 15,000 of his followers were evacuated from the sprawling premises.

During the standoff between Rampal’s followers and the police, five women and a child had died, while more than 200 people were injured in the clashes.

Tight security arrangements have been made here as self-styled godman Rampal is scheduled to be produced before Punjab and Haryana High Court today here in a contempt case.

The High Court had cancelled the bail of Rampal in a 2006 murder case on November 20 and directed the Haryana police to produce him on November 28.

The division bench comprising Justice M Jeyapaul and Justice Darshan Singh had posted the matter for hearing on November 28 with a direction to Haryana Police chief to file an affidavit giving details of the operation carried out to arrest Rampal from his ashram in Barwala in Haryana’s Hisar district along with damage, injuries to people, regarding arms and ammunition in the ashram and loss of property.

63-year-old Rampal, against whom the High Court had issued non-bailable warrant in the contempt case, had failed to appear before it on three dates – November 5, 10 and 17.

He had been evading appearance claiming to be “not well”.

The court had suo motu taken up the issue of cancellation of bail on November 10 when Rampal failed to appear in the contempt case.

He was arrested by Haryana police on November 19 from his 12-acre Satlok Ashram at Barwala in Hisar.

The ‘godman’ was produced before the High Court a day after his arrest on November 20 in a contempt of court case. He was later remanded to five day police custody by a local court after fresh cases were slapped on him which was extended by six days.

So far, more than 900 followers of Rampal have been arrested on various charges.

During the standoff between Rampal’s followers and the police, five women and a child had died, while more than 200 people were injured in the clashes.

Besides sedition and other charges, fresh FIRs including that of murder were also registered against him.

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