Security has been beefed up and prohibitory orders issued in Jodhpur ahead of a local court expected to deliver its verdict in the rape case against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu on Wednesday.
As per Rajasthan High Court’s April 17 order, the trial court will deliver its verdict in the case in Jodhpur Central Jail premises.
Apprehending a threat to law and order from followers, the administration has imposed Section 144 in the city.
We have imposed section 144 of CrPC in the city from April 21 and would remain effective till April 30. Besides this, we have been keeping a sharp eye on ashrams of Asaram in the city and checking all hotels and guest houses as well as the bus and railway station, DCP (East) Aman Deep Singh said.
We will also seal the jail on the day of judgment and would not allow anyone to get close to jail premises, Singh said.
Final arguments in the case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on April 7 and the court had kept the order reserved to be pronounced on April 25.
Asaram was arrested on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh, who was studying at the godman's ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.
The victim had alleged that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.
Asaram was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur on 1 September, 2013. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013.
A chargesheet against Asaram and 4 other co-accused namely Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash had been filed by the police on November 6, 2013 under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.
Trial of the case had begun in the district and session court on March 19, 2017, which had been shifted to the special court for SC/ST Cases on December 16, 2016.
If convicted in the case, Asaram faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail.
(With PTI inputs)