Narayan Sai sentenced to life imprisonment for rape

Narayan Sai, son of self-styled godman Asaram. PTI file photo

A Surat court on Tuesday sentenced Narayan Sai, son of self-styled godman Asaram, to life imprisonment while three of his accomplices were awarded ten years jail term each. Earlier this week, the court had held Sai guilty of raping a woman disciple multiple times from 2001 to 2006.

Besides Sai, his close aides Hanuman, Ganga and Jamuna have been awarded ten years jail while and another aide and driver Ramesh Malhotra has been given six months jail. The court has also directed to five Rs5 lakh as compensation to the victim

The court had found Sai guilty of “intercourse against the order of nature, with assault and criminal force to the victim with the intention to outrage her modesty among other charges. The case against Sai and others had been registered in 2013 following the complaint lodged by one of the sisters based in Surat. The other sister had filed a similar complaint against Sai’s father Asaram whose trail is being held in Ahmedabad. Asaram is serving life imprisonment in Rajasthan jail for raping a minor girl. 

There are 20 other accused in the case whose trial has been stayed by the court. In his defence, Sai had argued before the court that the victim, despite these allegations, stayed at the ashram for several years from the alleged offence and worked as an administrator in Surat ashram.

The other sister of the victim also lodged an FIR with Ahmedabad police against Sai’s father Ashumal Harpalani alias Asaram for a similar offence that including rape, unnatural sex, illegal confinement among others.

Following the arrests of the father-son duo, a series of attacks on crucial witnesses ensued. At least three eye-witnesses, who were closely associated with them, were murdered including Amrut Prajapati, an Ayurveda doctor, who was shot dead outside his clinic in Rajkot, Akhil Gupta, a cook and aide of Asaram, shot dead in his home town Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh and Kripal Singh, a witness in the Jodhpur rape case, died a day after he was shot at in Shahjehanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Sai is also facing trial for allegedly attempting to bribe policemen of Rs8 crore for assisting him in getting bail and acquittal from the case.

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