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Chandigarh, November 21, 2014 (Agencies) The powerful, self-styled godman Rampal on Thursday stood like a petty criminal, holding the iron bars of the lockup in a police station in Panchkula, where he was kept overnight before being produced in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday. In court, Rampal’s counsel added a new twist to the entire episode by submitting that “Rampal was himself in captivity in the ashram”. He could not elaborate much on this claim when questioned.

Rampal was arrested from his 12-acre mansion-like Satlok ashram after a police raid on Wednesday. The division bench of Justice M Jeyapaul and Justice Darshan Singh remanded Rampal in police custody till November 28. The court also cancelled Rampal’s bail in a 2006 murder case. Legal experts said the godman was likely to be jailed for a long time.

The Haryana Police added fresh charges of murder against him in the morning for causing the death of six people, including an infant, inside the ashram while a police operation was underway to nab him.  Rampal’s eventual arrest exposed his lie of being sick and unable to walk. Rampal had been perpetually avoiding appearing before the high court in a case of contempt citing ill-health. But, as the godman reached the hospital in Panchkula, he walked with perfect gait and climbed stairs without showing any signs of breathlessness. He was certified to be in ‘good health’ by doctors of the general hospital, who conducted Rampal’s detailed medical examination. Chief Medical Officer Dr Usha Gupta said, “Rampal is fine and all medical test reports are normal.”

The high court directed the Haryana DGP to submit a detailed report on the operation that took place at Satlok Ashram, including the nature of the resistance put up, the casualties and all other relevant facts like the recovery of arms and ammunition from inside the ashram. Rampal’s assets too would be declared in the high court, along with a statement of expenditure incurred on the operation to arrest him.

The high court asked the police to look if there were more Deras or religious places where arms and ammunition were stored. The police have taken control of the ashram and are searching every nook and corner.
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