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Asaram awarded life imprisonment, to file bail plea tomorrow

By Vikas Sv
|

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.

File photo of Asaram Bapu

Stay tuned to all the updates:

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3:56 PM, 25 Apr
Along with life imprisonment, the court has also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Asaram. Asaram's lawyers are likely to file bail plea in the High Court tomorrow.
3:18 PM, 25 Apr
Asaram's lawyer has said that they would approach the High Court for bail. WHat needs to be considered here is that Asaram has unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications in the past, of which 6 were rejected by the trial court, 3 by the Rajasthan high court and 3 by the Supreme Court.
3:07 PM, 25 Apr
376 D section was invoked to award maximum possible punishment under POCSO act to Asaram. Asaram to remain imprisoned till the time of natural death. Asaram reportedly broke down when the quantum of sentence was pronounced.
2:56 PM, 25 Apr
Asaram's lawyer has reportedly said that they would appeal against the judgement in a higher court. The defence had earlier argued that the court should take notice of Asaram's age and health condition while pronouncing the quantum of punishment. But the court decided to award maximum punishment to the self styled godman.
2:40 PM, 25 Apr
Asaram sentenced to life imprisonment by Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court in a rape case. Co-accused Shilpi and Sharad have been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
1:33 PM, 25 Apr
ABP news has reported that Asaram fell ill after the the verdict was pronounced. An ambulance is in Jodhpur Central jail now for Asaram.
1:29 PM, 25 Apr
Update: Asaram Bapu, Shilpi and Sharad found guilty in rape case. Prakash and Shiva acquitted.
12:16 PM, 25 Apr
The arguments for quantum of sentence is currently underway in the courtroom at Jodhpur Central Jail. While the prosecution is pressing for maximum punishment, the defence is saying that Asaram has done a lot for the society. Defence is also arguing on the lines that Asaram is not a repeat offender.
11:41 AM, 25 Apr
"The time has come when people should be able to differentiate between the actual saints and the frauds, as this creates a bad image of the country in the international arena," senior Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot told the media.
11:28 AM, 25 Apr
Asaram found guilty under section 376 and POCSO. News 18 reported that quantum of sentence would be announced today.
11:12 AM, 25 Apr
Reaction of victim's family
10:56 AM, 25 Apr
Asaram, Shiva and Shilpi convicted; Sharad and Prakash acquitted.
10:53 AM, 25 Apr
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.
10:52 AM, 25 Apr
"We will discuss with our legal team and then decide our future course of action. We have confidence in our judiciary," Asaram's spokesperson Neelam Dubey told the media.
10:51 AM, 25 Apr
There are 4 other co-accused namely Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash. All were charged under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.
10:45 AM, 25 Apr
Asaram and all other accused have been convicted by Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court in a 2013 rape case.
10:28 AM, 25 Apr
Asaram reportedly reached the courtroom in jail 15 mins late. He made judge and lawyers wait for 15 minutes.
10:24 AM, 25 Apr
There are 30 persons inside the jail courtroom. The judge, public prosecutor, five accused, 17 advocates and six court staff.
10:22 AM, 25 Apr
Main charges against Asaram are illegal confinement, criminal conspiracy and sexual assault. The prosecution would push for maximum punishment.
10:19 AM, 25 Apr
The hearing is underway and the verdict can be out any moment now. Security is tight around the court premises and other parts of the city. Drones have been deployed to monitor the situation.
10:06 AM, 25 Apr
Anticipating trouble by Asaram's followers in case the verdict is against the godman, watertight security has been put in place. Three states are on alert and prohibitory orders have been imposed in sensitive areas. Asaram runs around 400 ashrams across the country.
10:02 AM, 25 Apr
Reports say that security has been provided to the family of Akhil Gupta, a witness in the rape case against Asaram Bapu in Surat, who was shot dead in January 2015.
9:53 AM, 25 Apr
The hearing begins. Judge is set to pronounce verdict inside Jodhpur Central Jail. Security apparatus on high alert.
9:37 AM, 25 Apr
Judge Madhusudan Sharma arrives at Jodhpur Central Jail and hearing will begin shortly. Reports say that the hearing will begin at 10 am.
9:28 AM, 25 Apr
Prayers are being held in several parts of northern India by Asaram's followers. The Defence Lawyer has exuded confidence that Asaram would be acquitted.
9:16 AM, 25 Apr
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 today.
9:15 AM, 25 Apr
The Centre has reportedly told Gujarat and Haryana to be on alert to prevent a repeat of the large-scale violence that took place in Haryana and Punjab after the conviction of another self-styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, in a rape case last August.
8:54 AM, 25 Apr
Prosecution will press for maximum possible punishment. Prosecution is said to have examined 44 witnesses in the case. The defence is said to have examined 33 witnesses.
8:45 AM, 25 Apr
Five followers of Asaram Bapu have detained today from Jodhpur. The trust run by Asaram Bapu has appealed to followers to maintain peace.
8:23 AM, 25 Apr
Reports say that around 20,000 supporters of Asaram have reached. The message being spread in the Whatsapp groups is that Asaram would be coming out of jail.
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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.

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