A district court in Gandhinagar yesterday heard a case lodged in 2013, in which Asaram Bapu has been charged with rape, illegal confinement and criminal conspiracy. Presenting in the court, Asaram, whose real name is Asumal Harpalani, denied all charges against him in the case.
Asaram said that these charges levelled against him were part of a conspiracy created by a few people who were barred from his ashram 12 years back. He said that the charges filed by the complainant were false and baseless, but the police did not make any effort to find out the truth.
One of Asaram’s former devotees filed a complaint in Surat and accused him of raping her in his ashram at Motera between 1997 and 2006. The victim’s younger sister accused Asaram’s son, Narayan Sai, of sexually exploiting her in an ashram in the district. Sai, too, was booked for rape and has been awarded life imprisonment by a Surat court.
Before being charged in Surat, Asaram was booked in Rajasthan under Pocso charges. Once known as a Godman, a renowned spiritual leader, Asaram is currently serving a life term at a central jail in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He was convicted in 2018 for the case of sexual assault on a teenager. Yesterday’s hearing, too, was done through video conferencing.
The court will hear from six co-accused, including Asaram’s wife, daughter and four of his close aides, today.