Asaram has been serving life term in Jodhpur prison in connection with a Pocso case after he was convicted in 2018. He has been behind the bars since 2013.
Additional sessions judge D K Soni awarded life imprisonment for section 376(2) of IPC (rape) and 377 (sodomy) as well. However, the sentences will run concurrently. He has been punished with two years in jail for molestation and different jail terms for illegal detention of rape survivor, for using force to detain her and for criminal intimidation. For these offences, the court has imposed fine of Rs 23,000 on the convict.
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Besides, the court has ordered Asaram to pay Rs 50,000 compensation to the rape survivor.
The judge punished Asaram with life imprisonment after special public prosecutor R C Kodekar called for exemplary punishment by submitting that looking at his criminal antecedent, he is a habitual offender. On the other hand, Asaram’s advocate pleaded for leniency citing his old age and ill health.
Asaram attended the court proceedings through video conferencing facility while sitting in Jodhpur prison. Since the hearing has been in-camera, the court permitted entry in courtroom to only those lawyers who are on record. According to one of his lawyers, “When the judge pronounced the sentence, Bapu said ‘Aur bhi saza karva dete!’ (You could have inflicted more punishment on me)”.
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The court has acquitted all co-accused in this case. They were all women and charged with abatement and conspiracy.
Asaram’s former devotee made a complaint before police authorities in Surat in October 2013 accusing Asaram of raping her when she used to stay at his Motera ashram in Ahmedabad between 1997 and 2006
After he was booked under Pocso charges in Jodhpur and jailed, 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. This happened two months after Asaram was booked and arrested for an alleged sexual assault on a minor in Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
On the same day of making the complaint complaint, the victim’s younger sister had accused Asaram’s son, Narayan Sai, of sexually exploiting her in an ashram in Surat district. Sai too was convicted for rape and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Surat court.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault)