A local court on Saturday extended the judicial custody of self-styled godman Asaram and four co-accused for 12 more days on the police plea in connection with a case of sexual assault on a minor.
Asaram, 72, was arrested in August on charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in his ashram in the name of exorcism. He was also slapped with a fresh sexual assault case along with his son on October 6 following a complaint by two Surat-based sisters.
The police produced Asaram and his four aides before district and session judge Manoj Kumar Vyas on Saturday morning as their one day judicial custody ended on Saturday. Security was beefed up around the court and the road to Jodhpur Central Jail.
Victim’s counsel Manish Vyas said, "The investigating officer, who was supposed to file the charge-sheet on Saturday, sought more time to file the charge-sheet. The officer told the court that they will file the charge-sheet on November 6."
After this, the court extended the judicial custody of all the accused including Asaram till November 6.
The four co-accused whose custody has also been extended are Asaram’s personal caretaker Shiva, Chhindwara gurukul caretaker Sharat Chandra, girls’ hostel warden Shilpi and personal cook Prakash.
During the hearing, Asaram and other accused remained calm. But, their counsel termed the media reporting as derogatory to the godman. However, the court didn’t take any cognizance of such complaint. The court had already rejected Asaram’s plea seeking media gag order in the case last month.
Asaram is lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail since September 2. He was arrested from his Indore ashram in connection with sexual assault case of a 16-year-old girl-- an inmate of godman’s Chhindwara ashram.
Asaram was booked under sections 376, 342, 506 and 509 of the IPC, Section 8 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act.