A local court on Saturday adjourned till Monday the beginning of arguments taking cognisance of the chargesheet filed against self-styled godman Asaram and his accomplices by Jodhpur police in a sexual assault case.
Asaram, 72, is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in his ashram at Manai near Jodhpur on August 15. He was arrested on September 1 and is currently lodged in Jodhpur central jail.
Asaram also filed a new bail application on Saturday. The court began hearing arguments on the bail plea but adjourned it as the prosecution sought time to file the reply.
The cognisance arguments over the police chargesheet were scheduled to begin on Saturday before the district and sessions judge (Jodhpur district) Manoj Kumar Vyas, but Asaram’s counsel filed the bail plea before the court before the arguments could begin.
Senior counsel from Karnataka high court CV Nagesh and advocate from Hyderabad Ragvendra K appeared for Asaram, and pleaded that he had been falsely indicted in the case.
The charges levelled against Asaram by the police “are subject to the evidence”, argued Nagesh as he urged the court to grant bail to Asaram.
After nearly hour-long arguments over the bail plea, prosecution counsel Pradyuman Singh asked for time to reply. He informed the court that the prosecution was trying to appoint a special public prosecutor to argue the case.
Asaram was produced before the court amid tight security, along with the other accused – his aide Shiva, Chhindwara gurukul caretaker Sharad Kumar, hostel warden Shilpi and personal cook Prakash.
On November 6, police filed the chargesheet against Asaram and the other accused under various sections of the IPC, the Juvenile Justice Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The court will take cognisance of the chargesheet after hearing arguments from both sides.