Asaram rape case trial to be held in prison premises

Asaram rape case trial to be held in prison premises

Asaram rape case trial to be held in prison premises
Taking note of security concerns, a court here has ordered that the trial of self-styled godman Asaram, who is lodged in the central jail here in connection with a rape case, will be held in jail premises from Wednesday.

District and Session Court Judge Manoj Kumar Vyas said that considering the law and order situation, and the security of the court staff, counsels and Asaram himself, it would be appropriate to conduct the trial of the case in the jail premises.

Asaram is in jail since August 2013 on charges of sexual assault. He was arrested after a 16-year-old girl lodged a police complaint, alleging that the self-styled godman sexually assaulted her at his ashram here.

Counsel of the victim, P C Solanki said that on August 1, the Registrar General (Administration) of the Rajasthan High Court had written a letter to the court, requesting that the trial should be conducted in jail itself following consultation with the police and counsels of the case.

"In pursuance of this letter, the trial court issued an order to the effect that the trial of the case would be held in the court from August 5 at 2 PM," he said.

In view of frequent attacks on witnesses in the case and the presence of his followers on the stretch between the jail and the court, the jail administration had also written to the police demanding enhanced security for Asaram during his court appearances.

In November 2013, the prosecution had prayed for hearing of the case through video-conferencing from jail, but the court had rejected this plea on strong protest of the defence.

All the 43 prosecution witnesses have deposed in court since the trial of the case started in March 2014.