A Rajasthan court on Wednesday sentenced 70-year-old religious leader Kaushlendra Prapanacharya Phalahari Maharaj to life in prison for sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman, PTI reported. Alwar district Additional Sessions Judge Rajendra Sharma also ordered the accused to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
The accused’s lawyer, Ashok Sharma, told reporters that they will appeal against the sentence in a higher court.
In September 2017, Alwar Police booked the 70-year-old after the woman filed a complaint accusing him of sexually assaulting her when she visited his ashram to donate money. She said the alleged assault happened on August 7, 2017. The complainant, a resident of Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, had said her parents were disciples of the accused.
Soon after she lodged her complaint, the accused was admitted at a private hospital. He was then arrested on September 20, 2017 under Indian Penal Code sections relating to rape and criminal intimidation.
The religious leader was also ordered to undergo a virility test as part of the forensic examination. The police had raided his ashram and seized laptops, CDs, gadgets and CCTV camera footage.