Asaram rape case verdict LIVE updates: Asaram, the 79-yr-old goman was given life imprisonment until death while two of his aides Shilpi and Sharad got twenty years in jail each. Two other accused Prakash and Shiva have been acquitted in the case.
The father of the teenager raped by Asaram expressed satisfaction over the Jodhpur court verdict convicting the self-styled godman. "For the past four months, our family members had not been coming out (of our house)...it is satisfying that the verdict has gone against him," he said.
The Congress shared a video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Asaram, saying, "A man is known by the company he keeps." Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar urged people to refrain from sharing Modi's pictures with the 'godman', saying that we should give him "the benefit of doubt that he, like us, did not know."
An ambulance had entered the jail premises as the arguments on quantum of sentence in the rape case against self-styled 'godman' Asaram concluded on Wednesday.
While Asaram's spokesperson has said that they have faith in the judiciary, the rape survivor's father said that they had got justice with Asaram's conviction.
Reacting to Asaram's conviction, Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said that it is time that we crack down on "fake gurus". Asaram and two aides have been convicted, while two others have been acquitted by a Jodhpur court. A Jodhpur trial court has convicted self-styled godman Asaram Bapu and four others in a 2013 rape case against him. Expecting a repeat of the Panchkula violence during Dera Sacha Sauda's leader Ram Rahim verdict, officials beefed up security in three states. Unlike the Dera Sacha Sauda sect leader's verdict, where thousands of supporters slept on pavements, the pro-Asaram group is conspicuously invisible.
According to News18, Ram Rahim's supporters were organised and led by wing leaders. In Asaram's case, there does not seem to be any central leadership on the ground. The police in Jodhpur seems to be much more vigilant, combing all hotels every four house and sealing entry, exit points.
Around 1,500 police personnel are deployed around the Central Jodhpur Jail premises, railway stations, roadways bus stand and court premises. The trial court judge, who will pronounce the judgment on Wednesday, has arrived at the Jodhpur Central Jail premises.
Security has been stepped up in Jodhpur Central Jail ahead of Wednesday's trial court verdict in the alleged rape of a teenager by self-styled godman Asaram who faces a minimum term of 10 years if convicted.
Apprehending a threat to law and order, the Centre asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana governments to tighten security and deploy additional forces as the three states have a large number of followers of the 77-year-old Asaram.
In a communication, the Union Home Ministry told the three states to beef up security and ensure that no violence takes place after the judgment on Wednesday. The three states were also told to deploy additional forces in sensitive places, a Home Ministry official said.
As per the directions of the Rajasthan High Court, the trial court will deliver its verdict in the Jodhpur Central Jail premises where Asaram has been lodged for the past over four years.
"We have made all arrangements for the judgment day,” DIG Jail Vikram Singh said.
“The magistrate along with court staff, Asaram and the co-accused along with the defence and prosecution counsels will remain present in the courtroom in the jail premises,” he said.
Asaram is accused of raping a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, who was studying at the godman's ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. Asaram has denied the rape charges.
The victim had alleged that Asaram called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of 15 August, 2013.
"I have full faith in the judiciary and am confident that Asaram will be given the severest form of punishment," said the victim's father.
Security was also stepped up around the victim's house in Shahajahanpur.
"The security for the victim's family is continuously being monitored... Two more constables will stand guard outside her house in addition to the five policemen already deployed there, and a strict vigil is being maintained on all the visitors using CCTV cameras," Superintendent of Police KB Singh said.
A vigil was also being kept outside Asaram's ashram at Rudrapur, he said.
The Union Home Ministry's advisory was sent in view of the fact that large-scale violence was witnessed in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh after a special court in Mohali convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in 2017.
Final arguments in the Asaram case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on 7 April and the court had kept the order reserved for 25 April.
Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on 1 September, 2013. He is under judicial custody since 2 September, 2013.
The chargesheet against Asaram and four other co-accused Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash was filed by the police on November 6, 2013 under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC. If convicted, Asaram could be jailed for a minimum of 10 years or awarded a maximum life term, according to prosecution lawyers.
Asaram is also facing a rape case in Surat in Gujarat in which the Supreme Court earlier this month gave five weeks time to the prosecution to complete the trial.
"We have imposed section 144 of CrPC in the city from 21 April and it would remain effective till 30 April. Besides this, we have been keeping a sharp eye on Asaram's ashrams and checking all hotels and guest houses as well as the bus and railway stations,” DCP (East) Aman Deep Singh said in Jodhpur.
“We will also seal the jail on the day of judgment and would not allow anyone to get close to the jail premises,” he said.
Asaram unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications, of which six were rejected by the trial court, three by the Rajasthan high court and three by the Supreme Court.
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Updated Date: Apr 25, 2018 20:28:58 IST