Fresh blow to Asaram, Rajasthan HC upholds trial court order on 2 pleas

Jodhpur: Rajasthan High Court today rejected two petitions filed by Asaram Bapu and upheld the trial court's decision to allow prosecution to present documents in the court to prove that the girl, who was allegedly molested by the self-styled godman, was minor at the time of the crime.

Asaram Bapu
Asaram Bapu

Upholding the decision of the trial court in both the petitions, Justice Vijay Bishnoi of the High Court allowed the prosecution to exhibit the documents in the court.

In August 2013, the 16-year-old inmate of Asaram's Chhindwara ashram in Madhya Pradesh had accused him of sexually assaulting her at a farmhouse in Jodhpur on the pretext of treating her.

The girl's parents were allegedly advised by the warden of self-styled godman to take her to the Asaram to rid her off evil spirits.

"The charge sheet filing officer Mukta Pareek had collected the documents and mark sheets of classes 7, 8, 9 and 11 from victim's gurukul at Chindwara 'ashram' during probe and she wanted to exhibit them in the court as they could not be exhibited earlier," said P C Solanki, counsel for the victim.

He said that the trial court had permitted the prosecution to exhibit the documents. "We sought the permission of the trial court to present these documents in the court as they are important to help us
prove that the girl was minor at the time of crime," Solanki said.

Similarly, the metric certificate of the girl obtained by another officer related to the case, Nitin Dave, could not be exhibited in the trial court by mistake, he said.

But Asaram had challenged this decision of the trial court in the High Court by filing two separate Criminal Miscellaneous petitions, Solanki said. The defence is trying to prove that the victim girl, who
had complained of sexual exploitation by Asaram at an ashram, was not a minor.

"Now with the help of these documents, we would be able to prove in the court that she was minor at the time of crime to justify the invocation of POCSO act against Asaram," Solanki said.

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