Zee Media Bureau
Jodhpur: The Jodhpur police on Wednesday filed a chargesheet against spiritual guru Asaram Bapu, over two months after he was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl. The police have charged the self-styled godman with wrongful confinement and rape of a 16-year-old girl.
"The chargesheet containing over 1,000 pages was submitted in the court of the district and sessions judge (Jodhpur rural) against Asaram and his four accomplices," said a senior police officer.
The 1,011-page charge sheet, comprising 121 documents and statements of 58 witnesses, was filed in the District and Sessions Court in the presence of Asaram and four co-accused -- Shilpi, Shiva, Prakash and Sharad Chandra.
District and Sessions judge Manoj Kumar Vyas extended their judicial custody till November 16 when the arguments on the charges will begin.
The charges against Asaram and other accused include sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 376(2)(f) (rape of minor girl), 376 D (rape), 354 A (outraging a woman`s modesty), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 109 (abetment to an offence) of the IPC, said prosecution counsel Pradhuyman Singh.
They have also been charged under various sections of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The charges carry a minimum jail term of 10 years and a maximum of up to life imprisonment, according to the counsel of the minor girl, Manish Vyas.
Police moved an application in the court seeking its permission to add any further evidence related to the case during course of the trial.
Emerging out of the court, the self-proclaimed godman told reporters that he had been framed and the entire charge sheet was fabricated.
According to investigators, Asaram sexually assaulted the girl in his Manai Ashram, about 30 kms from Jodhpur.
Shilpi, the warden at the Chhindwara Gurukul in Madhya Pradesh where the girl was a student, allegedly convinced the girl`s parents to send her to Asaram to "ward off evil souls", which she had termed the reason behind the girl`s illness.
Shiva was the mediator between Shilpi and Asaram and was allegedly present in the Manai Ashram with him on the night when the girl was assaulted, an investigator had said.
On Aug 20, a 16-year-old girl lodged a police complaint accusing Asaram, 72, of sexually assaulting her at his ashram near Jodhpur.
In her complaint, she alleged that Asaram`s aides sent her to his Jodhpur ashram on the pretext that she was under the influence of an "evil spirit" and the spiritual guru could perform an exorcism.
Asaram was arrested from his ashram in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and brought to Jodhpur Sep 1.
Asaram is lodged in the Jodhpur Central Jail since Sep 2.