The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the bail plea of Asaram Bapu in conection with the sexual assault case lodged against him in Gujarat. The Hon’ble Court, which was hearing Asaram’s plea against the January 2015 order passed by the Gujarat High Court which had dismissed his bail application in the case, said the trial needs to be concluded before the bail is granted to the accused.
The bench headed by Justice N.V.Ramana with Justice Ajay Rastogi, while dismissing the plea, held that the lower court will proceed with the trial and not be influenced by the prima facie observations given by the Gujarat High Court. The bench was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat Government, that in the trial case that was going on 210 witnesses were yet to be examined.
In December 2013, the self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan, were arrested on charges of rape, after two sisters from Surat accused them of rape and illegal confinement in Asaram’s ashram in the mid 2000s. The older sister accused Asaram of repeated sexual assaults at Motera ashram during 1997-2006. The younger sister accused Narayan Sai of sexually assaulting her at the Surat ashram during 2002-2005. One of the sisters also alleged that these men had taken help from Asaram’s wife and daughter in exploiting the girls. This trial case is in progress in Gujarat’s Sessions Court.
The self proclaimed religious leader is also facing sexual assault charges in the Rajasthan High Court. A teenage girl who was a student at his ashram in Manai village accused him of sexual assault. The controversial Godman was found guilty under Sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. He was arrested in September 2013 and has been lodged in Jodhpur jail ever since. On April 2018, he was pronounced guilty and imprisoned for life with a fine of Rs. 5 Lakh.