The Jodhpur SC/ST Court will pronounce verdict in Asaram Bapu rape case on April 25. The hearing in the case was completed earlier on Saturday. The self-styled godman has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl over a period of nine years.
If convicted, Asaram faces maximum sentence of 10 years. He is also facing a rape case in Gujarat.
The Jodhpur Police arrested Asaram on August 3, 2013. He's been inside the prison since then. Several courts have repeatedly denied his bail requests.
In 2013, a Surat-based girl filed a case against him, alleging sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 when she was living in his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city. The girl belonging to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh was a student at the ashram.
The Supreme Court had earlier pulled up the Gujarat Police for delay in completion of recording of evidence in one of the rape cases against self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu, lodged in Jodhpur jail, and directed it to conclude the process within five weeks.
Asaram's counsel had on January 15 told the court that in the Gujarat case, out of 92 witnesses, 22 material witnesses have been examined, 14 of them have been dropped and rest need to be examined.
Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement, among other charges.
Last year, the apex body of sages issued two lists of “fake babas” containing names of 17 fake sages and self-styled godmen. The lists consist of names as Asaram Bapu, his son Narayan Sai, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Radhey Ma, Nirmal Baba, and Rampal.
Last year, another self-styled godman – Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh – was convicted of raping two sadhvis or female followers. A CBI special court awarded 20-year jail term. Following the conviction, Dera followers went on a rampage in Panchkula and Sirsa.