Jodhpur, April 25 (IANS) Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was on Wednesday convicted by a Jodhpur court for raping a minor girl at his ashram here in Rajasthan in 2013 and sentenced to a life term.
The judgment was pronounced by Special Judge for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe cases, Madhu Sudan Sharma, inside the Jodhpur Central Jail, where Asaram Bapu is lodged.
The 77-year-old godman was convicted under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Two co-accused were also convicted in the case.
The police chargesheet against Asaram Bapu and four other co-accused Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash was filed on November 6, 2013, under the Pocso Act, the Juvenile Justice Act and the IPC.
Informed sources said the court also convicted Shilpi (warden of Asaram’s ashram) and Sharad, while Shiva and Prakash were acquitted in the case.
Asaram Bapu is facing trial in another sexual assault case in Gujarat.
The final arguments in the case were completed in the Jodhpur court on April 7, which reserved the order for Wednesday.
Asaram Bapu was arrested in 2013 after a teenaged girl from Uttar Pradesh’s Shahajahanpur, a Class 12 student at his Chhindwara Ashram in Madhya Pradesh, filed a complaint and accused him of rape at his ashram in Manai village on the Jodhpur outskirts on August 15, 2013.
Asaram was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013. He was earlier denied bail by the Supreme Court.