Jodhpur: A day ahead of the court verdict in alleged rape case against self-styled godman Asaram, a heavy layer of security was thrown across the state with Section 144 being imposed at several places.
As per the directions of the Rajasthan High Court, the trial court will deliver its verdict in the case in Jodhpur Central Jail premises.
To maintain law and order, city police is keeping a strict vigil on vehicles coming in and out, with a special eye on Gujarat-based vehicles.
"We have made all arrangements for the judgement day. Magistrate along with court staff, Asaram and co-accused along with the defence and prosecution counsels will remain present in the courtroom in jail premises,” said DIG, Jail, Vikram Singh to news agency PTI.
Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people at a spot, was imposed on April 21 and will continue till April 30.
“We have imposed section 144 of CrPC in the city from April 21 and would remain effective till April 30. Besides this, we have been keeping a sharp eye on ashrams of Asaram in the city and checking all hotels and guest houses as well as the bus and railway station,” DCP (East) Aman Deep Singh said.
“We will also seal the jail on the day of judgment and would not allow anyone to get close to jail premises”, Singh said.
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.
A chargesheet against Asaram and 4 other co-accused namely Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash had been filed by the police on November 6, 2013 under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.
Trial of the case had begun in the district and session court on March 19, 2017, which had been shifted to the special court for SC/ST Cases on December 16, 2016.