A Jodhpur court in Rajasthan held self-styled godman Asaram guilty of rape in one of the three cases he is facing, on Wednesday. The self-styled godman could be handed out a punishment of at least 10 years in prison. He is accused in three cases of rape. On Wednesday, the Jodhpur court gave its decision in the case of a 16-year-old girl from Shahjahanpur who had alleged that she had been raped by Asaram at his ashram in August 2013.
Heavy security was deployed to prevent 77-year-old Asaram’s followers from creating law and order problem in the city.
The police had imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in the city, which will be in force till 30 April.
The Centre on Tuesday had asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana to tighten security and deploy additional forces to ensure no violence takes place after the verdict. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana have a large number of followers of Asaram.
Asaram was represented in the court by eminent lawyers such as Ram Jethmalani and Subramanian Swamy. But of the 12 bail applications, six were rejected — three by the Rajasthan High Court and three by the Supreme Court.
Here is a timeline of everything Asaram has been named in ever since the Jodhpur incident:
15 August 2013: Asaram allegedly rapes a 16-year-old girl from Shahjahanpur at his ashram in Manai village in Jodhpur. The girl was a student in his ashram.
20 August 2013: Complaint filed by parents of the victim in Delhi; case later transferred to Jodhpur.
23 August 2013: Asaram’s supporters attack Delhi’s Kamla Market police station.
28 August 2013: Victim’s father demands death for Asaram.
29 August 2013: Asaram claims that “madam and son” are targeting him. He was hinting at then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for plotting against him.
31 August 2013: Asaram arrested and sent to Jodhpur Central Jail.The godman had tried to resist arrest citing poor health.
October 2013: Two complaints of rape filed against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai by three women in Gujarat’s Surat and Ahmedabad. Narayan Sai in December 2013 admits to rape charge in the Surat case.
September 2013: Sessions Judge Manoj Kumar Vyas receives threats warning of “consequences”.
November 2013: Police files charge-sheet against Asaram and four co-accused in case under relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Early 2014: Trial begins in the Jodhpur rape case.
28 February 2014: The husband of one of the rape survivors in the Surat case was brutally stabbed in a hospital compound by an unknown assailant.
March 2014: Two unidentified men throw acid on an aide of one of the witnesses in the Surat case.
11 June 2014: Former Asaram aide and witness in Surat case, Amrut Prajapati, shot at in a Rajkot hospital. He dies of bullet injuries.
11 January 2015: Akhil Gupta, cook in Asaram’s ashram and witness in Surat sisters’ case, shot dead in Muzaffarnagar.
13 February 2015: A witness in Jodhpur case, Rahul K Sachan, stabbed outside the local court.
13 May 2015: Mahendra Chawla, Asaram confidant till 2006 and prime witness against Sai in one of the cases, fired at by two bikers in Panipat.
8 July 2015: Sudha Pathank, another witness, turns hostile.
12 July 2015: Kripal Singh, a third witness, shot dead at in Shahjahanpur.
March 2016: Kartik Haldar, a henchman of Asaram, arrested by Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) from Raipur in Chhattisgarh. He is accused of killing Akhil Gupta. A charge-sheet is filed on 19 December 2017.
16 December 2016: All cases against Asaram under POCSO Act shifted to the special court for SC/ST in Jodhpur.
January 2018: Court fines Asaram Rs 1 lakh for submitting false medical evidence in his bail petition. All of Asaram’s previous bail petitions had been rejected.
6 April 2018: Supreme Court pulls up Gujarat Police over slow progress in Surat case.
7 April 2018: SC/ST Cases Special Judge Madhu Sudan Sharma hears final arguments in the Jodhpur case.
21 April 2018: Rajasthan High Court grants Rajasthan police’s request for pronouncement of verdict in the premises of the Jodhpur Central Jail.