A Jodhpur court in Rajasthan sentenced self-styled godman Asaram to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl at his Ashram in 2013.
Special Judge (SC/ST court) Madhusudhan Sharma delivered the verdict in the Jodhpur Central jail premises.
Asaram’s co-accused, Shilpi and Sharad Chandra, were awarded 20 years each by the court, while two others, Prakash and Shiva, were acquitted.
The verdict was delivered in the Jodhpur Central Jail as per orders of the Rajasthan High Court. Section 144 has been imposed in the city, preventing assembly of more than four people.
The victim had said in her complaint that Asaram called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.
Final arguments in the case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on April 7 and the court had kept the order reserved for today.
The 77-year-old Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He is in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.
The chargesheet against Asaram and four other co-accused Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash, was filed by the police on November 6, 2013, under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.
Asaram is also facing a rape case in Surat in Gujarat in which the Supreme Court earlier this month gave five weeks time to the prosecution to complete the trial.
Asaram unsuccessfully moved 12 bail applications, of which six were rejected by the trial court, three by the Rajasthan high court and three by the Supreme Court.
(With agency inputs)