Asaram verdict: All you need to know about the case against him
Asaram was arrested August 31, 2013, on charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram near Jodhpur earlier that year and sent to the Jodhpur Central Jail.india Updated: Apr 24, 2018 18:58 IST
A special court in Jodhpur will deliver its verdict on Wednesday against Asaram Bapu, as the spiritual guru is known to his followers, on charges that he raped a minor.
Asaram was arrested August 31, 2013, on charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram near Jodhpur earlier that year and sent to the Jodhpur Central Jail.
The girl, whose parents were long-time followers of Asaram, and her brother were students at a school attached to his ashram in Madhya Pradesh’s Chindwara. The girl fainted at the school one day in 2013 and the hostel warden told her parents that she should be sent to Asaram’s ashram to be exorcised as she was possessed by “evil spirits”.
The parents were told at Asaram’s ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur that he would need to be alone with their daughter for an hour to banish the “evil spirits”. She told her parents that she was sexually assaulted by Asaram during the period and they registered a police complaint in New Delhi.
Case against Asaram
The charges against Asaram include sexual assault, raping and illegally confining a minor, according to 1,300-page charge-sheet filed by the Rajasthan Police.
The police also charged four others, including the hostel warden and three of Asaram’s aides, with trafficking for participating in the criminal conspiracy.
Another rape complaint
Asaram is also facing a rape case in Gujarat. Two Surat-based sisters, who lived in Asaram’s ashram in Gujarat between 1997 and 2006, lodged separate complaints against him and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of repeated rape and illegal confinement, among other charges.
In the charge-sheet filed against him in a Gandhinagar court, Asaram has been accused of illegal confinement and criminal conspiracy. Five others, including his wife and daughter, have also been booked by the police.
Other cases against Asaram in Jodhpur
There are two more cases against Asaram Bapu in Jodhpur in addition to the case of sexual assault against the minor.
Asaram, his personal caretaker Shiva and three of his followers were charged by Jodhpur Police in November 2014 for allegedly threatening to kill the station house officer (SHO) of Udaimandir police station on WhatsApp.
Jodhpur Police registered a case against Asaram and others in February 2017 for filing fake documents in support of his interim bail plea at the Supreme Court’s orders. The top court found that Asaram submitted a fake medical report during the hearing of his bail application in January 2017. It also slapped a penalty of Rs 1 lakh on Asaram.
Witnesses murdered, attacked
Three key witnesses have wound up dead as the cases have progressed and other witnesses and families of victims have been attacked or received death threats.
The first witness to be murdered was Amrut Prajapati, a 56-year-old Ayurveda doctor, who was shot at on May 23, 2014, and succumbed to his injuries a month later. He worked at Asaram’s Motera ashram for 15 years before he left in 2005.
Prajapati became a key witness in the rape case since he testified that Asaram had a special chamber at the Motera ashram where he only met women. Before this, Prajapati had testified in the 2008 mysterious deaths of two boys who studied at an ashram-run gurukul in Ahmedabad.
Another witness, 38-year-old Akhil Gupta, was shot dead on January 11, 2015, in Muzaffarnagar while returning home. Gupta, once a confidant and close aide of Asaram, was a prime witness in the rape case against him. On July 10, 2015, Kripal Singh, an LIC agent, became the third witness to be shot dead.
Mahendra Chawla, also a witness in the second rape case against Asaram and Sai in Gujarat, was attacked on May 13, 2015, in Haryana’s Panipat. During the trial in Jodhpur, Chawla told the court that Asaram sent vulgar signals to young girls. The longtime aide also told the court about the network that “supplied” girls to Asaram.
Rahul Sachan, another witness, was attacked with a sharp knife by one of Asaram’s followers on February 13, 2015, inside a court in Jodhpur.
The session court has rejected Asaram’s bail plea six times. The same bail application was also rejected thrice by the high court and the same number of time by the Supreme Court.
Several prominent lawyers, including Ram Jethmalani, Salman Khurshid, KK Menon and Subramanian Swamy, have failed to obtain a bail for Asaram.
First Published: Apr 24, 2018 17:10 IST