Nearly five years after rape charges were levelled against Asaram Bapu, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court today awarded life imprisonment to him till death. The two other co-accused got 20-year jail term.
The judgement in the rape case was pronounced inside the Jodhpur Central jail. There were five charges levelled against Asaram Bapu, including raping minor girl, wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and sexual harassment.
Asaram is currently lodged in the Jodhpur Central Jail, facing trial in two sexual assault cases- one in Rajasthan and the other in Gujarat. He was convicted under section 376 and POCSO Act.
In the case registered in Rajasthan, a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh had accused Asaram of raping her at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur on the night of 15 August 2013.
While in Gujarat, the two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against the self-styled godman and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape.
Asaram had filed a number of bail petitions, a total of 12 applications were rejected by the trial court, the Rajasthan High Court and the Supreme Court.
Asaram Bapu was taken into police custody in August 2013, following which he was taken to Jodhpur Central jail. A month after his arrest a potency test was conducted on him and was produced before a Jodhpur court.
In the year following his arrest, a number of key witnesses in the case were attacked or went missing. In fact, his personal aide was shot dead in 2014 while another associate was killed in 2015 in Muzaffarnagar.
The verdict in the case will be announced from inside the jail premises, as mandated by the Rajasthan High Court.