Gandhinagar, Jan 31: A court in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar today sentenced self-styled Hindu godman Asaram Bapu to life imprisonment in a 2013 rape case. The 81-year-old was convicted in a rape case filed by a former woman disciple in 2013.
Sessions court judge D K Soni pronounced the ruling after hearing the arguments on the quantum of sentence.
A district and sessions court in Gandhinagar on Monday held Ashupal Harpalani, alias Asaram Bapu, guilty of rape and criminal intimidation and acquitted five other co-accused in the case.
Asaram Bapu was accused by a Surat-based woman of repeatedly raping her on multiple occasions while she was at his ashram in Ahmedabad's Motera between 2001 and 2006.
The case against Asaram Bapu was registered in 2013 based on a complaint filed by the woman.
At the time, the 77-year-old godman was convicted under sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 354A (sexual harassment), 370(4) (trafficking), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Asaram's son Narayan Sai was an accused in the case as well. Asaram's wife Lakshmi, daughter Bharati, and four female followers -- Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera -- were also accused in the case. All of them were acquitted by the Gandhinagar court.
During the hearing on Tuesday, the prosecution claimed that Asaram Bapu, who is currently in Jodhpur jail in another rape case, was a "habitual offender" and sought a life sentence.
Gandhinagar Sessions Court Judge DK Soni delivered a verdict sentencing Asaram Bapu to life in jail.
District and Sessions Court judge D K Soni held Asaram guilty under IPC Sections 376 (2)(c) (being on the management or staff of a place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a woman’s or children’s insti¬tution takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on any inmate of such place), 377 (unnatural sex), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506(2) (criminal intimidation), 354 (assault with intent to outrage modesty of woman), and 357 (assault to wrongfully confine a pertain).
Asaram is currently lodged in a Jodhpur jail, where he is serving life sentence in another case of raping a minor girl at his ashram in Rajasthan in 2013.
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