A special Jodhpur court today held godman Asaram guilty of rape and sentenced him to life imprisonment
New Delhi: MNN:The verdict was delivered by Special Judge Madhusudhan Sharma in a makeshift court at the Jodhpur Central Jail, where the godman asaram has been lodged since 2013.
FIR was lodged against Asaram and four others – Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya .
Prakash and Shiva have been acquitted.
A 16-year-old girl had accused godman Asaram of rape on the intervening night of August 15 and 16 in 2013, at his ashram in Jodhpur.
Godman Asaram was today convicted by a court in Jodhpur for raping a teenager at his ashram in 2013.
Special Judge (SC/ST court) Madhusudhan Sharma delivered the verdict in the Jodhpur Central jail premises.
Godman Asaram was arrested in Indore in Madhya Pradesh for the Jodhpur case and moved to jail in the desert city.
The godman Asaram appealed 12 times for bail but was turned down each time.
“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 the father of the rape survivor.
During the Jodhpur trial, nine witnesses who testified against him were attacked, three of them died.
Godman Asaram, who has a long flowing white beard and used to dress in white robes, was accused of rape, and trafficking under POCSO.
The minimum sentence he faces is 10 years in prison; the maximum is life sentence.
The young girl he raped was left alone with him by her parents because Asaram’s aides said he would “cure” her of evil spirits that had possessed her.
She testified later that he threatened to kill her if she revealed what he had done to her.
Arguments on the quantum of sentence are currently underway the sources said.
Arguments on the quantum of sentence that defence has argued for minimum punishment saying that Asaram is not a repeat offender.
The godman’s spokesperson said that they will appeal in the high court against the verdict.
Home Ministry sources said that there is no report of violence so far from anywhere in the country after the verdict.
Security has been stepped in Jodhpur where prohibitory orders were clamped.
Apprehending a threat to law and order, the Centre also asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana governments to tighten security.
And deploy additional forces as the three states have a large number of followers of the 77-year-old godman Asaram.
In a communication, theSpecial Judge (SC/ST court) Madhusudhan Sharma told the three states to beef up security and ensure that no violence takes place after the judgment.
The three states were also told to deploy additional forces in sensitive places of Godman Asaram
The Gujarat police has stepped up security outside two of the prominent ashrams of the godman Asaram in the state, as a court in Rajasthan convicted him in a rape case today.
Over 50 policemen, led by a deputy commissioner of police, were deployed outside the godman Asaram’s ashram in Motera area of Ahmedabad city, DCP HR Muliana said.
Around 100 policemen as well as personnel from the State Reserve Police Force were deployed at Chandkheda area to keep an eye on followers coming to the ashram, he said.
Since Sabarmati area is also close to the ashram, around 40 policemen were maintaining vigil at strategic locations and on connecting roads, the official said.
“All the police stations in the city have been given orders to remain alert and conduct patrolling” Muliana said, adding that the situation at the ashram was calm.