Over 80 cartons of explosives were recovered from the premises, which the officials of Dera Sacha Sauda, the sect headed by the Ram Rahim, say were used to make crackers. The factory has been sealed and a forensic team is examining the nature of the explosive.
The search operation began amid tight security and curfew in the area on Friday morning. In the first two hours of search, a large amount of cash including plastic money, banned currency, hard discs and computers were seized. Five people including two minors were also rescued from the Dera campus.
Teams of officials and policemen with hundreds of paramilitary troops raided the Dera campus with 50 videographers and more than a dozen locksmiths. Digging machines were taken inside to look for hidden tunnels.
Bomb squads, commandos, ambulances and fire trucks are on alert for a court-ordered search led by former judge AKS Pawar, who has also taken along 70 witnesses.
Ram Rahim, the flamboyant “Guru of Bling” known for his outrageous costumes and “rockstar” lifestyle, was jailed for 20 years last week after he was convicted of raping two followers inside the Dera base.
The Dera campus is replete with symbols of Ram Rahim’s extravagance and megalomania, with replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, Kremlin and Disney World created in a seven-star “MSG resort” and giant posters of the Dera chief everywhere. The campus includes an “international school”, shops, a hospital, a stadium, houses and a cinema theatre that screens Ram Rahim’s “MSG” franchise movies.
A pink building known to be Ram Rahim’s notorious “Gufa (cave)” – the house where the women were raped – will be searched.
“The Dera premises is a very huge area and it will take time to complete the entire process,” Haryana police chief BS Sandhu said.
There are multiple check-points near the Dera base and hundreds of paramilitary forces have been stationed in the Sirsa town to check any violence.
Besides the bomb squad, 40 SWAT commandos, central forces and a dog squad is on alert.
Violence broke out in Sirsa and Panchkula after the Ram Rahim was convicted of rape on August 25. AT least 38 people died in rioting by mobs of Dera supporters, say police.