Hisar (Haryana): A court here on Tuesday sentenced self-styled godman Rampal and 14 of his followers to life imprisonment in connection with a murder case.
Hisar Additional District and Sessions Judge D R Chaliya pronounced the quantum of sentence in the case which was lodged on the complaint of one Shivpal of Mithapur near Badarpur in Delhi.
The court awarded life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs one lakh each under section 302 (murder) of the IPC, two-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 under section 343 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC and life imprisonment and a fine of Rs one lakh each under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
All the sentences will run concurrently, counsels of the accused A P Singh and Mohinder Singh Nain said.
The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence in another murder case (FIR 430/2014) on October 17.
On October 11, the court had convicted Rampal and his 26 followers in two separate cases of murder and other offences, including wrongful confinement of his victims at his hermitage.
The court pronounced the verdict after a nearly four-year-long trial of the 27 accused in a makeshift court inside the district jail, where Rampal (67) and his followers have been lodged since their arrest in November 2014.
The two cases against Rampal and his followers were lodged at Barwala police station on November 19, 2014.
The second one was lodged by Suresh of Jakhora village of Lalitpur district in Uttar Pradesh.
Both the complainants had alleged that their respective wives' were held captive inside Rampal's ashram and later killed.
Besides the murder charges, the Barwala police had also invoked the offence of wrongful confinement, among others, in the two FIRs.
In November 2014, as the police proceeded to arrest Rampal holed up inside his ashram, his followers and devotees, numbering over 15,000, surrounded the sprawling 12 acre hermitage to prevent the godman's arrest.
Six persons including five women and an infant were killed in the ensuing violence.
Elaborate security arrangements were made by Hisar district administration ahead of the pronouncement of sentence.
Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting gathering of more than four persons, has already been imposed by the district magistrate, effective till October 17.