Ram Rahim, the controversial godman of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, fighting rape and murder charges, will soon have a jungle retreat in the Western Ghats. Eight workers, probably from Rajasthan, clearing wild foliage and constructing a building at a 40-acre plot within a British-era plantation estate at Vythiri in Wayanad do not know what is coming up. The plot is more than 3 km away from National Highway 212 and tucked deep inside the resort country.
Dr. Aditya Arora, the spokesperson for the Dera, said there were no immediate plans to extend the sect’s activities to Kerala or to start a unit here. “I have no idea about the timeline for starting the centre there [at Wayanad], though we will be extending our global initiatives there too,” he said, adding that Dera is not planning to buy more land in the State.
According to the sale deed, available with The Hindu , Darshan Singh, a member of the executive committee of the Dera, bought the piece of land from V.K. Zakeer Hussain of Malappuram on November 5, 2012 for Rs 2 crore.
Though the rape trial against Ram Rahim began on February 17 at the CBI special court at Panchkula in Haryana, the police are not probing his investments. While confirming that the latest case against Ram Rahim for hurting religious sentiments is coming up for trial on April 6, Ravicharan Singh Brar, Senior Superintendent of Police, Bathinda, said the Punjab police too were not looking into investments made by the sect. Dera has its base at Sirsa in Haryana.
Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, as he is known to his followers, was reported to have travelled to Wayanad in July last year and spent nearly two weeks at Vythiri, where he bought his new property. The beautiful plot has wild growth in half of the property and a tributary of the Thalipuzha river, flowing through it. There are at least three resorts – Vythiri Resort, Green Magic and Jungle Park – in the neighbourhood. The plot was part of the 830.24-acre Eagle Estate, first bought by Thomas Grey Hill of the Thomas G. Hill and Company of Manchester in 1872. The estate changed many hands and Mr. Hussain, along with two others, bought 90 acres out of this in 1992.