Controversial godman Asaram Bapu sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 rape case

Asaram Bapu after being produced at Session Court in Jodhpur on November 18, 2013. File Photo: PTI

Ahmedabad: A court in Gujarat state capital Gandhinagar on Tuesday sentenced controversial godman Asaram Bapu to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of raping and sodomising his former devotee in a case filed over a decade ago.

This is the second conviction for Asaram after a Jodhpur court in 2018 held him guilty of raping a minor.

Additional sessions judge, D K Soni also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on 81-year-old Asaram who was convicted of rape, sodomy, molestation, illegal detention, using force to illegally confine the survivor and criminal intimidation.

On Monday, Judge Soni acquitted six others accused in the case: Asaram’s wife Lakshmi, his daughter Bharti, and four office-bearers of his ashram in the Motera area of Ahmedabad.

The six accused were acquitted for the lack of evidence against them, said Asaram’s advocate, Chandrashekhar Gupta.

The self-proclaimed guru is currently serving a life sentence in a Jodhpur jail for raping a minor girl at his ashram in Rajasthan in 2013.

During the course of the trial, the special prosecutor in the case R C Kodekar examined 68 witnesses. Asaram had termed the charges against him as criminal conspiracy.

According to case details, after Asaram was booked under Pocso Act in Jodhpur and jailed in 2013, one of his former devotees turned up in Surat and accused him of raping her in his ashram at Motera in Ahmedabad between 1997 and 2006.

The victim’s younger sister accused Asaram’s son, Narayan Sai, of exploiting her sexually in an ashram in the Surat district. Sai, too, was convicted of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Surat court.

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