Self-styled godman Asaram has been sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a minor in his ashram
His counsel had asked for leniency, citing his age and health. However, the judge took a strong view of the allegations and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
His aides, Shilpi and Sharad, who were convicted with him, have been sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment each.
His followers are allegedly planning to move the High Court against the verdict.
He was convicted under sections of POCSO and the Juvenile Justice Act.
In 2013, self-styled godman Asaram was arrested after a minor alleged that he raped her in his ashram in the outskirts of Jodhpur. He is charged under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
He also has been charged with rape in Gujarat, where two sisters lodged separate complaints against him and his son, Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement. The trial for this case hasn’t yet begun.
He was also charged with trafficking, rape and sexual crimes against children. He was arrested in Indore and was brought to the Jodhpur Central Jail in September, 2013. He has been in judicial custody since.
He unsuccessfully moved for bail 12 times, but it was rejected each time.
Over the last four years since the trial began, 9 witnesses in the two cases against Asaram have been attacked and three of them have died.
Jodhpur turned into a virtual fortress before the verdict and neighbouring states too were put on high alert. The judge presiding the case has been provided Z+ security.
Last year, Haryana and parts of Rajasthan witnessed widespread violence when another self-styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of the Dera Sacha Sauda was charged with rape. He has been imprisoned for 20 years.