press trust of india
Jodhpur, 7 February
Charges were framed against self-styled godman Asaram today for rape, criminal conspiracy and other offences by a Jodhpur court in connection with sexual exploitation of a minor girl in his ashram here.
District and Sessions Court Judge Manoj Kumar Vyas retained all the charges slapped by police except Section 26 of Juvenile Justice Act related to child labour against 72-year-old Asaram and his aides and co-accused Sanchita Gupta alias Shilpi and Sharad Chandra.
Charges have been framed against under sections 342 (for wrongful confinement), 354A (sexual harassment), 370(4) (trafficking), 376(2)f (rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age), 506 (criminal intimidation), 509/34 and 120 (B) (Criminal conspiracy).
He has also been charged under sections 23 and 26 of Juvenile Justice Act and section 5(f)/6, 5(g)/6 and 7/8 of POCSO Act.
The charges attract a maximum of life imprisonment.
“The court has relieved Asaram, Shilpi and Sharad of section 26 of Juvenile Justice Act only, which is a bailable offence and has ordered to retain all the remaining charges against Asaram and all other co-accused,” said Public Prosecutor R L Meena.