From trafficking to rape, this is what Asaram is accused of
The 1,011-page charge sheet filed by the police accuses Asaram of trafficking, wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, rape and criminal conspiracy.Asaram Verdict Updated: Apr 25, 2018 14:58 IST
The Rajasthan Police in its charge sheet against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu gave details of how he and his four associates conspired to sexually molest a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram in 2013.
If the charges, filed in the district and session courts, are proved, the religious leader faces imprisonment from 10 years up to life.
Police had told the court on the basis of the mobile call details how Asaram and his four associates plotted the criminal conspiracy to sexually molest the victim at the Manai ashram, 30 km from Jodhpur, on August 15, 2013.
There are four other accused in the chargesheet – Sharad and Shilpi, the wardens of the hostel in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh where the victim was studying in a residential school run by Asaram’s trust.
Two other accused are Asaram's associates Shiva, and Prakash, who had helped in the crime by contacting the father of the victim and telling him that his daughter had been ‘possessed’ and had to be taken to Jodhpur to meet babaji who would cure her.
In the 1,011 page charge sheet, the police had included 121 documents and statements of 58 witnesses. Asaram is accused of trafficking, wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, rape and criminal conspiracy.
Section 370 (4) of IPC (Trafficking): Asaram has conspired with Sharad and Shilpi wardens at the hostel in Chhindwara where the girl was staying, for sexually exploiting the victim. In the conspiracy, Asaram's associate Shiva and Prakash also helped and contacted the father of the victim on mobile phone to get her to Jodhpur.
Section 342 of IPC (wrongful confinement): Asaram called the victim to the ashram's room on the night of the alleged incident and closed the door from inside. The victim was kept in the room for one and a half hours for sexual exploitation and rape.
Section 354A (sexual harassment), 506, 509 of IPC (criminal intimidation, insulting modesty of a woman) and Section 7/8 of POCSO Act (sexual assault): While holding the victim captive, Asaram opened his clothes and displayed nudity in front of the victim. The victim was sexually abused even though she continued to oppose. Asaram threatened to kill the victim and her parents.
Section 376 of IPC: While holding the victim captive, the main accused molested the victim with touching her private part and raped her.
Section 376 (2) (F) of IPC (Rape on woman below 12 years): The main accused Asaram was guru of the parents of the victim for several years. The victim herself considered him as God and was studying in a school run by his ashram. Despite person being in a position of trust, the accused raped her.
Section 5 (F)/6 of POCSO Act (any management or staff of an educational institution commits penetrative sexual assault): The victim was a minor and was studying in a school run by Asaram's Trust. While being a trustee in the management of the educational institution, the accused raped her.
Section 376D of IPC (intercourse by a management or staff of a hospital) and 5(G)/6 of POCSO Act (gang penetrative sexual assault on a child): By forming a gang with his associates Shilpi, Sharad, Prakash and Shiva, Asaram raped and sexually abused the victim.
(Section 376D of IPC has been added because the school staff had told her father that the girl was possessed and had to be taken to Asaram for treatment).
How much punishment: If the prosecution is able to prove its allegations on the basis of the police chargesheet, Asaram can be punished for imprisonment for a minimum of ten years and a maximum of life imprisonment.