Ahmedabad, Mar 28: A court in Gandhinagar today framed charges against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, paving the way start of trial, more than two years after the police filed a charge-sheet against him and six others in a rape case.
A Surat-based woman has accused Asaram of raping her repeatedly during her stay in his ashram here. The framing of charges was delayed because the police could not bring Asaram to the court as he is in a Jodhpur jail in connection with another rape case. The police and Asaram's lawyers agreed that he can appear through video-link.
Accordingly, Asaram appeared before the sessions judge Rizwana Ghoghari via a video-link today. He denied the charges against him when asked by the court. He also requested the court to conduct the trial at the earliest. The court set April 13 as the next date.
In the present case, he is also charged with illegal confinement and conspiracy. Six others are charged with conspiracy along with Asaram -- his wife Lakshmi, daughter Bharti and his women followers Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera.
The younger sister of the complainant has levelled the allegation of rape against his son Narayan Sai who too has been arrested by Surat police. The elder sister has accused Asaram of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 when she was living in his Ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city.