Asaram trial to begin Dec 4

Jaipur, Nov 27 : A court in Rajasthan's Jodhpur city Wednesday took cognizance of the charge-sheet filed against Asaram Bapu and his four aides in connection with a rape case lodged by a 16-year-old girl against the spiritual guru, a lawyer said.

After determining the charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the court of district and sessions judge (Jodhpur rural) slated the next hearing in the case for Dec 4, when the trial against the accused people will begin.

"Asaram Bapu and his four aides - Sanchita Gupta alias Shilpi, the warden of Asaram's ashram in Chhindwara, his cook Prakash, aide Shiva and ashram director Sharad Chandra - were produced in the court of District and Sessions Judge (Jodhpur Rural) Manoj Vyas today (Wednesday)," said the girl's lawyer Manish Vyas.

A charge sheet was filed against the five by Jodhpur police Nov 6.

"The court took cognizance of the charge sheet and fixed the charges under IPC and POCSO sections," the lawyer said.

The Rajasthan High Court had Oct 1 rejected Asaram's bail plea.

On Aug 20, the 16-year-old girl lodged a police complaint accusing Asaram, 72, of sexually assaulting her at his ashram near Jodhpur.

In her complaint, she alleged that Asaram's aides sent her to his Jodhpur ashram on the pretext that she was under the influence of an "evil spirit" and the spiritual guru could perform an exorcism.

Asaram was arrested from his ashram in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and brought to Jodhpur Sep 1.

Asaram has been in the Jodhpur Central Jail since Sep 2.

--IANS (Posted on 27-11-2013)

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