The Home Ministry has asked governments of three states - Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana - to beef up security ahead of verdict by a Jodhpur trial court in the alleged rape of a teenager by self-styled godman Asaram. Security has also been heightened in the national capital Delhi fearing violence by Asaram supporters.
The Delhi Police is in touch with neighbouring states and additional forces have been kept on standby. "All field formations of police put on alert. Adequate forces will immediately be deployed if required. All officers will be present in their areas," Delhi Police CPRO Deepender Pathak said.
The Union Home Ministry's advisory was sent in view of the fact that large-scale violence was witnessed in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh after a special court in Mohali convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim last year.
Jodhpur has been turned into a fortress ahead of Wednesday's verdict and section 144 has been imposed in the city. If convicted, Asaram could be jailed for a minimum of 10 years or awarded a maximum life term, prosecution lawyers said.
Watch: Will Asaram be convicted?
What is the case
Asaram is accused of raping a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, who was studying at the godman's ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. Asaram has denied the rape charges.
The victim had alleged that Asaram called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.
Final arguments in the Asaram case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on April 7 and the court had kept the order reserved for April 25.
Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013.
The chargesheet against Asaram and four other co-accused Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash was filed by the police on November 6, 2013 under various sections of the POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC.
Asaram is also facing a rape case in Surat in Gujarat in which the Supreme Court earlier this month gave five weeks time to the prosecution to complete the trial.
(With inputs from agencies)