New Delhi, April 24: A day ahead of the verdict in the rape case against the self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, the Jodhpur court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking entry of media persons in Central Jail for the coverage. The Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court is set to prononunce its verdict against the self-styled godman on Wednesday. The judgement in the case will be pronounced inside the Central Jail.
Earlier in 2013, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a plea of Asaram for restraining the media from covering the sexual assault case against him. “At present, we cannot entertain your petition,” a bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said then. However, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Asaram, cited certain captions used by some news channels in their reports. He had said “our grievance is against the mutilation of news reports. I am not against the media coverage. I have no difficulty with the correct reporting.”
Meanwhile, security has been stepped up and prohibitory orders issued in the city ahead of the trial court verdict. As per the directions of the Rajasthan High Court, the trial court will deliver its verdict in the case in Jodhpur Central Jail premises.
Apprehending a threat to law and order from followers of Asaram, the police have imposed prohibitory orders. “We have made all arrangements for the judgement day. Magistrate along with court staff, Asaram and co-accused along with the defence and prosecution counsels will remain present in the courtroom in jail premises , DIG, Jail, Vikram Singh said.
Final arguments in the case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on April 7 and the court had kept the order reserved to be pronounced on April 25.
Asaram was arrested on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh, who was studying at the godman’s ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. The victim had alleged that Asaram had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.
Asaram was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur on 1 September, 2013. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013.