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Asaram Sentence Not Based on Crime of Rape: DG Vanzara's Strange Defence of 'Godman'

Vanzara said that the case against Asaram was a conspiracy, as the 77-year-oldself-styled godman was a "protector of the Sanatan Hindu dharma".

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Updated:April 25, 2018, 6:27 PM IST
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Asaram Sentence Not Based on Crime of Rape: DG Vanzara's Strange Defence of 'Godman'
A file image of self-styled godman Asaram.
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New Delhi: On a day self-styled godman Asaram was sentenced to be in jail until death after being convicted in a 2013 minor rape case by a special Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe court in Jodhpur, former Gujarat top cop DG Vanzara said it was improper to dub him "rapist".

"We respect the judgment and are not contesting or supporting any action proven in a court of law. However, it is improper to dub Asaram as rapist for being convicted in the sexual assault case," said Vanzara, who arrived at Asaram's Ahmedabad-based ashram after the verdict in the case.

Explaining his rationale for saying so, Vanzara said that the chargesheet fails to mention anywhere that the victim was raped.

"In the FIR lodged by the victim or in the chargesheet filed, nowhere does it say that she was raped. What it says is that he tried to touch her improperly," said Vanzara.

Vanzara, who spent 9 years in jail accused of extra-judicial killings before being cleared of all charges last August, further added that the sentence is not based on the crime of rape.

"Her virginity was found to be intact when medical tests were carried out after the complaint. This was never a case of rape. The sentence is not based on rape committed," said Vanzara.

"The victim said that Bapuji had touched her with bad intent, which is also a crime. But I doubt whether Asaramji did so. He has been convicted in this matter but decision of any court is not final," Vanzara added.

"We respect this decision but will go to the higher court against it. We believe that we will get justice," he said.

Vanzara said that the case against Asaram was a conspiracy, as the 77-year-old self-styled godman was a "protector of the Sanatan Hindu dharma".

The survivor, who was a Class 12 student at Asaram Bapu's Chhindwara Ashram in Madhya Pradesh, was raped in August 2013.

According to the victim's complaint, she was raped for an hour by the self-styled godman on the intervening night of August 15-16, 2013.

She reported the matter to her parents, who in turn had filed a zero First Information Report (FIR) with the Kamla Nagar police station in New Delhi on August 20.

Asaram Bapu was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He has been in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.

The self-styled godman was convicted on Wednesday under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Two co-accused were also convicted in the case.

Informed sources said the court also convicted Shilpi (warden of Asaram's ashram) and Sharad, while Shiva and Prakash were acquitted in the case.

Asaram Bapu is facing trial in another sexual assault case in Gujarat.
| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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