Panchkula, Haryana–Jailed Dera sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s close aide Honeypreet Insan was on Wednesday sent to six days police remand by a court in Panchkula.
The Haryana Police had sought 14 days police remand.
Earlier in the day, Honeypreet was produced in the court here, a day after her arrest in adjoining Punjab.
Court sources said that Honeypreet was in tears before the court and pleaded with folded hands that she was innocent.
The prosecution 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.
The police remand was opposed by Honeypreet’s defence counsel who claimed that Honeypreet was surrounded with tight security and had no role in the violence in Panchkula on August 25. Officials of the Special Investigation Team of Haryana Police had earlier questioned Honeypreet, whose real name is Priyanka Taneja.
Honeypreet remained fugitive for 38 days after she was booked by Haryana Police on charge of sedition. She was arrested on Tuesday from the Zirakpur-Patiala highway, about 15 km from Chandigarh.
Police sources said that Honeypreet was questioned by the SIT officials and women police officials for several hours at the Chandimandir police station here. “She was evasive in her replies about her whereabouts and her role in inciting violence and providing funding to those behind the violence. We are interrogating her and will seek her police remand,” a police officer involved in the questioning told IANS.
A woman accomplice, Sukhdeep Kaur, who was accompanying Honeypreet when she was arrested on Tuesday, was also arrested on charges of harbouring the fugitive. The police had been on Honeypreet’s trail for nearly a month and raids were conducted in Nepal, Rajasthan, Bihar and Haryana and Delhi.
Panchkula Police Commissioner A.S. Chawla, who comfirmed her arrest, said that probe would be held on the locations she stayed in the past few days and who all helped in harbouring her.
Refuting rumours that Honeypreet had surrendered and was not arrested, Chawla said: “It was not a surrender. It was an arrest.”
“We need to investigate her role in the Panchkula violence on August 25 and hence we will seek her police remand,” he added.
On Tuesday, Honeypreet, in an interview to a news channel, claimed that she was innocent. Describing the allegations against her as “baseless”, she said that she was falsely implicated in the sedition case.
The Delhi High Court, on September 26, dismissed her anticipatory bail plea. A court in Panchkula had in September issued arrest warrants against top Dera functionaries — Honeypreet, Aditya Insan and Pawan Insan. All 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 on two counts of rape of female disciples in 1999.
The Haryana Police had sounded an international alert against all three. Honeypreet, in her mid-30s, has been the closest aide of Ram Rahim since 2009. Her ex-husband Vishwas Gupta had alleged illicit relations between the two.
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 rape conviction led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana, leaving 38 people dead and another 264 injured. Isolated incidents of violence were also reported from Delhi and several places in Punjab.