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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Asaram rape case: trial to begin on December 4

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Jodhpur, November 27, 2013
First Published: 20:01 IST(27/11/2013) | Last Updated: 20:03 IST(27/11/2013)

A local court on Wednesday took cognisance of the Jodhpur Police chargesheet filed against self-styled godman Asaram in a sexual assault case.

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Asaram is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl at his Manai ashram near Jodhpur on August 15.

He was arrested on September 1 and is currently lodged in Jodhpur central jail.

The court also extended the judicial custody of Asaram and his four aides. The hearing of the charge arguments in the case will begin on December 4.

On November 6, Jodhpur Police filed its 1,012-page chargesheet along with a list of 58 witnesses.

Asaram and his four accomplices are accused under section 376 (D) (gang rape), section 370/4 (offence involving trafficking of a minor), section 376/2 (F) (sexually assaulting a minor), 354-a (assault or use criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe her, 342 (wrongful confinement), 506 (criminal intimidation), 509/34 (gesture of act intended to insult the modesty of a woman read with several persons with common intention) and section 120 (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The accused have also been charged under sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act as well as sections 5(d)/6, 5(g)/6 and section 7/8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

District and sessions judge (Jodhpur rural) Manoj Kumar Vyas on Wednesday observed that the sections of various acts invoked in the chargesheet were fit for the trial of the accused.

“The court has taken cognisance for all the sections mentioned in the chargesheet. After this process, the burden has shifted on the accused to prove their innocence,” said Manish Vyas, the victim’s counsel.

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