A Jodhpur court in Rajasthan convicted self-styled godman Asaram of raping a 16-year-old girl from Shahjahanpur at his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur on the night of August 15, 2013.
The chargesheet against Asaram and four other accused – Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash – was filed by the police on November 6, 2013 under various sections of the POSCO Act, the Juvenile Justice Act and the IPC.
The sentence will be pronounced soon.
Asaram Trust spokesperson Neelam Dubey said they have “confidence in our judiciary” adding that they “will discuss with legal team and then decide the future course of action.”
Final arguments in the Asaram case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on April 7, and the court had reserved the order for April 25.
Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He has been in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.
Earlier, security was stepped up in Jodhpur where prohibitory orders were clamped ahead of the trial court verdict.
Apprehending a threat to law and order, the Centre had asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana governments to tighten security and deploy additional forces as the three states have a large number of followers of the 77-year-old Asaram.
Security was also stepped up around the victim’s house in Shahajahanpur.
“The security for the victim’s family is continuously being monitored… Two more constables will stand guard outside her house in addition to the five policemen already deployed there, and a strict vigil is being maintained on all the visitors using CCTV cameras,” Superintendent of Police K B Singh told PTI.
In a communication, the Union Home Ministry told the three states to beef up security and ensure that no violence takes place after the judgment. The three states were also told to deploy additional forces in sensitive places, a Home Ministry official said.
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.
(With agency inputs)