The Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Saturday finished its hearing in the rape case against religious leader Asaram, and reserved its order for April 25. Judge Madhu Sudan Sharma had heard arguments for five months, PTI reported.
Asaram is facing two rape cases, one in Gujarat and another in Rajasthan. He was arrested for rape in August 2013, and has been in a jail in Jodhpur since. He was charged under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The case in Rajasthan is related to allegations of sexual assault levelled against the septuagenarian by a teenager. She had accused Asaram of raping her in August 2013. Her parents, both devotees of the godman, had taken her to his Jodhpur ashram for what they were told was going to be a healing ritual. The girl said Asaram sexually assaulted her on August 15, 2013, and warned that her family would be in danger if she reported the crime.
In Gujarat, two sisters from Surat had filed two separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement.
The Supreme Court has rejected several of Asaram’s bail pleas. On Friday, it had criticised the Gujarat Police for delaying the recording of evidence in one of the cases against Asaram.
In January, the Supreme Court had asked the Gujarat government to provide a status report on the case while hearing one of Asaram’s bail petitions. In August 2017, the Supreme Court had asked the Gujarat government why it had not sped up the trial. It asked the state to file an affidavit in answer, and also wanted to know why the victim had not been examined yet.