New Delhi: Self-styled guru Asaram has been convicted by Jodhpur court for raping a teenager in 2013. News18 looks back at the series of events which led to the arrest of Asaram.
Asaram was arrested on August 31, 2013, after a teenage girl alleged that she was subjected to sexual assault by the self-styled guru when she stayed at the Ashram in Mani village. The victim was a resident of Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh and was a student there.
Asaram was charged under relevant sections of Prevention of Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Schedule Caste and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
August 15, 2013: The day of alleged sexual assault by the self-styled guru.
August 20, 2013: The victim’s parents filed a complaint in Delhi and the case was later transferred to Jodhpur police.
August 23, 2013: Supporters of Asaram attacked Kamla Market police station in Delhi in retaliation to the case.
August 28, 2013: Father of the teenager demands death for Asaram whereas the self-styled guru's son described the young girl as mentally unstable.
August 29, 2013: Indirect allegations made by the accused that he was being targeted by the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.
August 31, 2013: Jodhpur police arrested Asaram, who was later sent to jail by a court. His supporters created a ruckus outside court against the order.
November 6, 2013: Jodhpur police files chargesheet against Asaram and four co-accused. He was charged with wrongful confinement and rape of a sixteen-year-old.
November 8, 2013: Rajasthan HC directs the District and Sessions Court to start trial with daily hearings and wrap up the case at the earliest.
While Asaram was evading arrest, his son said that the self-styled guru was not hiding and would surrender once he recovers from trigeminal neuralgia (a chronic pain condition affecting the trigeminal nerve in the face).
During one of the hearings, defence lawyer Ram Jethmalani argued that the victim had a chronic disease “which draws a woman to a man”.
February 7, 2014: Charges framed against Asaram for rape, criminal conspiracy and other offences by Jodhpur court.
February 13, 2014: Asaram pleads not guilty to charges in rape case.
August 19, 2014: Supreme Court rejects Asaram's bail plea.
January 1, 2015: A seven-member AIIMS medical board examined Asaram following a SC directive in connection with his bail plea.
February 2015: Rahul K Sachan, a witness in the case was stabbed outside the local court. He was supposed to give his statement.
July 8, 2015: A witness, Sudha Pathak, turned hostile and told the court she had no knowledge of Asaram’s activities.
Four days later, a key witness, Kripal Singh was shot at by two motorcycle-borne people in Shahjahanpur.
April 7, 2018: Final arguments in the case were completed in the court of SC/ST cases Special Judge Madhu Sudan Sharma and verdict was reserved.
April 25, 2018: Self-styled guru Asaram has been convicted by Jodhpur court for raping a teenager in 2013.
What are the charges against Asaram?
Asaram sexually assaulted a minor girl in Mani Ashram, around 30 kilometres from Jodhpur.
Shilpi, the warden at Chhindwara Gurukul in MP where the girl was a student, allegedly convinced the girl's parents to send her to the Ashram to ward off evil souls which was said to be behind her mental illness.
It was also alleged that Shiva, the mediator between Shilpi and Ashram, was also present in Mani Ashram the day the assault took place.
What are the sections Asaram is being tried for?
— IPC 342 (Wrongful confinement)
— IPC 376(2)(F) (Rape of a minor girl)
— IPC 376 D (Rape)
— IPC 354 A (Outraging the modesty of a woman)
— IPC 506 (Criminal intimidation)
— IPC 109 (Abetment to an offence)