Self styled godman Asaram Bapu and two of his aides, who were accused in a rape case involving a minor, were on Wednesday convicted by the special court for SC/ST Cases in Jodhpur. Two others were acquitted by the court. Security was stepped up in Jodhpur. The verdict was announced from inside the jail premises as was mandated by the Rajasthan High Court. Asaram the self-styled godman accused of raping a 16 year girl could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted. He is in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.
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The final arguments in the case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on April 7 and the court had kept the order reserved to be pronounced on April 25. Asaram was arrested on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh, who was studying at the godman's ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. The victim had alleged that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013. Asaram was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur on 1 September 2013. He is in judicial custody since September 2, 2013. A charge sheet against Asaram and 4 other co-accused namely Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash had been filed by the police on November 6, 2013, under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC. The trial of the case had begun in the district and session court on March 19, 2017, which had been shifted to the special court for SC/ST Cases on December 16, 2016.
Asaram has unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications, of which 6 were rejected by the trial court, 3 by the Rajasthan high court and 3 by the Supreme Court.