In yet another jolt to self-styled godman Asaram, lodged in the Jodhpur jail in connection with the sexual assault of a minor girl, a local court on Saturday rejected his plea claiming the victim is not a minor.
Asaram Bapu, accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl, is escorted by police after he was produced at a court in Jodhpur. (PTI Photo)
While rejecting the application filed by Asaram, district and sessions judge (Jodhpur rural) Manoj Kumar Vyas said that documents related to the victim’s age produced by the prosecution are reliable and establishing that the victim is not a major.
“Age of the victim shown in her matriculation certificate is sufficient to establish her being a minor,” Vyas observed in his judgment.
Asaram’s counsel Omkar Singh Lakhawat, through an application filed on March 25 last, had raised question over jurisdiction of the court hearing the case under various sections of the Prevention of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) against the godman.
He produced two documents including a school certificate of the victim when she was admitted to the nursery class, which shows the date of birth of the victim as August 6, 1995 and an LIC policy document showing her birth in 1994.
“These documents are showing that the victim is a major and Asaram cannot be prosecuted under the POCSO Act,” Lakhawat had argued before the court. But prosecution lawyers told that the court that a certificate issued by the secondary education board is a valid document to certify her age.
Asaram is lodged in the Jodhpur Central Jail since September 2 last year after he was booked for the sexual assault on a minor girl on August 21, 2013.