Asaram rape case: ‘Self-styled Godman’ gets life imprisonment

Asaram Bapu
Asaram Bapu, File Photo

New Delhi, April 25: Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu has been Asaraam sentenced to life imprisonment by Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court for raping a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in 2013.

Special Judge Madhusudhan Sharma delivered the verdict in which three accused including Asaram convicted, two other accused acquitted by in connection with the rape case.

The court awarded 20 years in jail each to Asaram’s warden Shilpi and associate Sharad.

However, the court acquitted Asaram’s ‘sevadar’ Shiva and cook Prakash.

“Asaram has been sentenced to life imprisonment till natural death… Shilpi and Sharad have also been directed to pay Rs one lakh fine each,” defence lawyer Sushma Dhara stated.

The 474-page judgment said, “the 77-year-old godman and two others were convicted under Section 376D of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act”.

Minutes after the verdict, Asaram spokesperson, Neelam Dubey said “We will discuss with our legal team and then decide our future course of action. We have confidence in our judiciary.

Following the directions of the Rajasthan High Court, the trial court pronounced its verdict in Jodhpur Central Jail premises.

Updates: 

Rest of two accused Shilpi, Sharad sentenced to 20 years jail term

Asaram gets life imprisonment

We have got justice. I want to thank everyone who supported us in this fight, says Victim’s Father 

Asaram is convicted, we have got justice. I want to thank everyone who supported us in this fight. Now I hope he will get strict punishment. I also hope the witnesses who were murdered or kidnapped get justice, said Father of the victim.

Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court convicts three accussed including Asaram and acquits two other accused

Visuals from Ahmedabad

To ensure law and order is maintained following the verdict, additional forces have been are deployed in three states — Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat.

Rapists like Asaram should be hanged, says Mahendra Chawla, a witness in the case

Trust judiciary and am confident that Asaram will be convicted. I request judiciary that such rapists should be hanged. Though I have security, I request Centre for additional security, my life like other witnesses is constantly under threat, news agency ANI quoted Mahendra Chawla as saying.

Delhi police on high alert 

The Delhi Police is also on high alert today in the wake of the verdict. A senior official says the cops have been given instructions in case followers of Asaram Bapu gather post-judgment. “We are in touch with police forces from neighbouring states to avert any untoward incident. Senior officers from districts and SHOs of police stations concerned have been directed to keep a watch in their respective areas,” he is quoted as saying by PTI.

Security tightened at Jodhpur jail ahead of Asaram Bapu’s case verdict

In Jodhpur, where the verdict will be delivered, authorities imposed Section 144.

Supporters of Asaram offer prayers 

On April 7, the final arguments in the case had been concluded by the special court for SC/ST cases and the court had kept the order reserved to be pronounced on April 25.

Asaram was held on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Uttar Pradesh’s Shahajahanpur.

The victim, who was studying at Asaram’s ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, had alleged that the godman had called her to his ashram in Manai and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.

Asaram was nabbed from Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. The godman is in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.

A charge sheet against Asaram and four other co-accused namely Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash had been filed by police on November 6, 2013, under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), Juvenile Justice Act and Indian Penal Code.

The trial of the case had started in the district and session court on March 19, 2017, later it had been shifted to the special court for SC/ST cases on December 16, 2016.

WeForNews 

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