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Narayan Sai, Asaram’s son, sentenced to life in rape case by Gujarat court

Narayan Sai, the son of self-styled godman Asaram, was sentenced to life term by a court in Surat on Tuesday in a rape case.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2019 23:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Narayan Sai,Asaram,rape case

A Surat sessions court on Tuesday sentenced Narayan Sai, the son of jailed self-styled godman Asaram, to life imprisonment in a rape case filed against him by a former woman disciple in 2013.

Additional sessions judge P S Gadhvi handed the life sentence to 47-year-old Sai and imposed a fine of ~1 lakh on him.

The court also directed Sai to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the victim.

The court had pronounced the judgement in the case on April 26 when it convicted five of the 11 accused and acquitted the rest.

Besides Sai, who has been lodged at Surat’s Lajpore jail since his arrest in 2013, the court sentenced his three aides, including two women, to 10 years each in jail for various offences related to the case. His driver Rajkumar alias Ramesh Malhotra was sentenced to six months in jail. Dharmishtha, Bhavna and Pavan were fined
~5,000 each by the court.

“There was no medical or any other evidence against Sai. The judgement was given based on statement of the victim. The verdict should be challenged in the high court,” said Sai’s lawyer B N Gupta. The court had convicted Sai under IPC sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 323 (assault), 506-2 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (conspiracy), while his aides were found guilty of abetment to the crime.

Dharmishtha, Bhavna and Pavan were held guilty of being part of a conspiracy, while Sai’s driver Malhotra was convicted under IPC section 212 (harbouring offender).

Sai was arrested from Pipli near Haryana’s Kurukshetra in December 2013 after two sisters from Surat filed rape complaints against him and his father Asaram in October that year.

One of the women had accused Sai of repeated sexual assaults when they were living at Asaram’s ashram between 2002 and 2005 in Surat. The victim’s elder sister also made a similar allegation against Asaram while she was living at an ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad between 1997 and 2006.The defence lawyer had pleaded for four years’ imprisonment as the victim was neither a minor nor had left the ashram after the rape on multiple occasions. The court also dismissed the defence argument that victim had taken 10 years to file the complaint.

“We had sought for life imprisonment as Sai had exploited his powerful position as a religious leader. Besides, the law says that irrespective of delay in filing of FIR, the statement of victim is important,” said public prosecutor P N Parmar.

“ I want to tell fellow women in India to stay away from fake and corrupt sadhus”, said the complainant, hours after court awarded life imprisonment.

Sai’s father Asaram was convicted by a Jodhpur court in a rape case in April last year and sentenced to a life term.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 17:37 IST