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Rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was granted the furlough in February. (File)Chandigarh: Jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh does not fall in the category of “hardcore prisoners” for the purpose of his release on parole or furlough, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held.The court of Justice Raj Mohan Singh also disposed of the plea filed by a Patiala resident who had challenged the furlough granted to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in February.The order was pronounced on Thursday. The petition was disposed of as infructuous as Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had already returned to jail.The Dera Sacha Sauda chief, who is lodged in Rohtak’s Sunaria jail, was granted a three-week furlough on February 7 to meet his family in Gurgaon after the Haryana government concluded that he does not fall in the category of hardcore prisoners.Furlough is a short-term temporary release of convicts from jail.  Kanika Ahuja, one of the counsels of the Dera chief on Friday said the court has held that Ram Rahim does not fall in the category of “hardcore prisoners”.Petitioner Paramjit Singh Saholi had contended that Ram Rahim had committed a heinous crime for which he has been convicted and therefore he should not be granted furlough.The counsel for the Dera chief argued that he does not fall in the category of “hardcore prisoners” as he was convicted for the charges of criminal conspiracy in the two murder cases.Ram Rahim is serving a 20-year jail term for raping two women disciples at his ashram in Sirsa, where the ‘dera’ is headquartered. He was convicted by a special CBI court in Panchkula in August 2017.Last year, the Dera sect head was also convicted along with four others for hatching a conspiracy to kill Dera manager Ranjit Singh in 2002. In 2019, Ram Rahim and three others were also convicted for the murder of a journalist in 2002.He had been held guilty of hatching a criminal conspiracy with his co-accused for these killings and convicted under Section 120-B read with Section 302 IPC.The punishment of life term in the two separate murder cases will commence after he completes his sentence in the rape case. Ram Rahim had been given Z-plus security cover during his 21-day release on furlough in February considering the “high-level threat” to his life from “pro-Khalistan” elements.During the furlough period, the sect chief was with his family in his Gurgaon ashram where he was kept under heavy security.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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