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Dera Sacha Sauda assets valued at Rs 53 crore, and still counting

The assets of Dera Sacha Sauda's congregation centres (naam charcha ghar) in Punjab have so far been valued at Rs 53 crore, as per a report of estimates got prepared by the state home department from districts.

While more assets are likely to come to light, this report underlines how the dera, headquartered in neighbouring Haryana's Sirsa town, has a presence across the state.

Barring Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Pathankot and Rupnagar, 17 of Punjab's 22 districts have at least one naam charcha ghar, according to the report. Most of these dera branches are not large in area, but regularly see gatherings; and are concentrated in the Malwa region.

Within districts, too, the numbers tell a story. Faridkot has eight centres, Sangrur has four and Barnala, three. Details from Jalandhar, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, and Ludhiana are still to be received but the administrations have not denied the dera's presence.

The compilation by the district authorities was submitted before the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday. It had last week sought details of the assets while ordering recovery from the dera for losses caused by the dera followers on August 25 when they went on rampage after a CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana, convicted dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for raping two followers.

In Bathinda, the dera has the largest assets valued at Rs 20 crore. This district is where the state headquarters of the sect is located in Salabatpura. In Sangrur, the dera has assets worth at least Rs 7 crore; worth rs 5 crore in Patiala.

The state home departments says compilation of bank details of the Dera Sacha Sauda will take time, because it involves each branch of all banks, nationalised and private.