Asaram Bapu sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 rape case
The Gandhinagar Sessions Court on Tuesday sentenced self-styled godman Asaram Bapu to life imprisonment in a 2013 rape case filed by a woman, his former disciple who stayed at one of his ashrams near Gujarat's Gandhinagar. During the hearing, the prosecution submitted that the self-styled godman was a "habitual offender" and demanded life imprisonment and a heavy fine for him in the case.
Why does this story matter?
- The 81-year-old self-styled godman has a massive following and hundreds of ashrams across the country.
- He has been serving a life sentence at the Jodhpur Central Jail for raping a minor girl in 2013 at one of his ashrams in Rajasthan.
- On Tuesday, he attended the hearing via a video conference, the same way he has been attending the trial all these years.
Gujarat court fines Asaram Bapu Rs. 50,000
After listening to all arguments, Gandhinagar Sessions Court judge DK Soni sentenced Bapu to life imprisonment and also imposed an Rs. 50,000 fine on him. Earlier on Monday, the court found him guilty under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 376(2)C) (rape), 342 (illegal confinement), 377 (unnatural sex), 357 (assault), and 506 (criminal intimidation), among others. The court considered testimonies of 55 witnesses, PTI reported.
Know about cases against Asaram Bapu
The first information report (FIR) in the current case against the self-styled godman was filed in 2013 in Surat by a former woman disciple. The victim alleged in the FIR that she was raped by Bapu at his ashram in Ahmedabad's Chandkheda. Later, her sister also filed an FIR against his son Narayan Sai for raping her at the Surat ashram.
Trail at Gandhinagar court started back in 2014
The trial at the Gandhinagar court began in 2014, after which the followers of Bapu reportedly murdered three key witnesses in the case. One witness is still missing, and this case is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Two others survived the attack narrowly.
Bapu sentenced to life in 2018 for raping minor girl
Separately, a court in Rajasthan's Jodhpur found the 81-year-old guilty in 2018 of raping a 16-year-old minor girl at his ashram in the city and awarded him life imprisonment. At the time, Bapu was convicted under the Juvenile Justice Act, IPC Section 376, and the Protection of Children under Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, as per news outlet Times Now.