Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday announced that the judgement in a rape case against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu will be pronounced in Jodhpur Central Jail. The high court’s decision came after Rajasthan Police filed a petition stating that the state may witness a Panchkula-like situation, where Ram Rahim’s followers created massive ruckus during his trial, if he is produced in court. On court’s decision, Asaram’s counsel has said that they have no problem with it.
Earlier, Rajasthan Police moved the high court demanding Asaram’s hearing to be conducted in the jail rather than in high court. The police had said in the petition that carrying out Asaram’s trial in high court will draw his supporters to Jodhpur in huge numbers and there’s a potential that the followers might create commotion like Ram Rahim’s followers did in Panchkula during his court hearing.
A two-judge bench of Justices Gopalkrishna Vyas and Ramkrishna Singh on Tuesday accepted the police’s proposal and moved the hearing of Asaram rape case to the central jail. During the court’s announcement, the counsel of Asaram Bapu gave a written statement which stated that whether the hearing is carried out in court or jail, they have no problem with it. The judgement in the rape case will be pronounced on April 25, 2018.
Asaram has been serving time in prison since September 1, 2013 and has been denied bail several times. He was arrested after a 16-year-old accused the self-styled godman of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Jodhpur on the pretext of exorcising her from evil spirits. Multiple girls have come out since then accusing Asaram and his son of sexually exploiting them.