Asaram cites ‘trial by media’ in rape conviction, files appeal against life term
Self-styled god man Asaram Bapu on Monday cited “trial by media” in his conviction in a minor’s rape case and sought quashing of the life term awarded to him.
“We have filed the appeal (in the Rajasthan high court) against the judgment of the special court (Pocso Act), in which the appellant Asaram Bapu was convicted and was sentenced to life imprisonment till death,” his counsel Nishant Bora said.
The special court (Pocso Act) on April 25 awarded life imprisonment to Asaram Bapu till death. He is accused of raping a minor girl in 2013 at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The court has also convicted two other accused and sentenced them to 20 years in jail and fined Rs 1 lakh each.
Asaram’s appeal said the trial court ignored many facts in its decision. “The present case is a clear and disturbing illustration of trial by media… The appellant was projected and condemned as a lecherous person and a debauch. He was depicted as a serial womaniser and a rapist continuously, covering a major period of trial. He was, therefore, assumed to be guilty person much before the trial reached its conclusion,” the appeal said.
It said the witnesses were not competent nor were their statements relevant or admissible. Despite that, their statements amounting to character assassination, were recorded and they were cited as witnesses and examined, the appeal said.
In November 2013, the Jodhpur police filed charge sheet against Asaram and four co-accused. The charge sheet accused him of rape, sexual exploitation and human trafficking apart from offences under Pocso Act.