13 October, Paanchkula
Jailed Dera sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s close aide Honeypreet Insan was on Friday sent to 10 days’ judicial remand by a court in Panchkula.
Honeypreet, whose real name is Priyanka Taneja, has been sent to judicial custody till October 23. She has been lodged in the Central Jail, Ambala, 45 km from here.
She was earlier sent to police remand for six days, which was later extended by another three days.
The police had sought police remand for Honeypreet, saying she was the closest aide of the rapist sect chief and knew many things about the activities of the sect and its role in the violence in Panchkula and other places after the August 25 conviction of Ram Rahim on two counts of rape.
During her police remand, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the violence by Dera followers in Panchkula on August 25 took Honeypreet to various locations in Haryana and Punjab to find evidence of her involvement in the violence.
Honeypreet had remained fugitive for 38 days after she was booked by Haryana Police on charge of sedition. She was arrested on October 3 from the Zirakpur-Patiala highway, about 15 km from Chandigarh.
Police sources said that Honeypreet, who was repeatedly questioned by the SIT and women police officials, was evasive in her replies about her whereabouts and her role in inciting violence and providing funding to those behind the violence.
A woman accomplice, Sukhdeep Kaur, who was accompanying Honeypreet when she was arrested, was also sent to judicial remand till October 23.
A court in Panchkula had in September issued arrest warrants against top Dera functionaries — Honeypreet, Aditya Insan and Pawan Insan.
The three were booked by the Haryana Police on charges of sedition, inciting violence and being involved in a conspiracy to help the Dera chief escape after his conviction by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on August 25 for raping two disciples in 1999.
The Haryana Police had sounded an international alert against all three. Honeypreet’s former husband Vishwas Gupta had alleged illicit relations between her and the sect chief.
The woman — who has been claiming to be Ram Rahim’s “adopted daughter” — starred as the lead heroine in five films he directed, produced and acted in over a period of three years.
Ram Rahim has been sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of over Rs 30 lakh.
His conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 41 people dead and over 260 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several places in Punjab.