New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to grant bail to self-styled Godman Asaram in a sexual assault case against him.
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government, that the trial in the case was going on and 210 witnesses were yet to be examined.
Dismissing the bail plea, the bench said the lower court will proceed with the trial and will not be influenced by the prima facie observations given by the Gujarat High Court earlier while dismissing Asaram’s plea.
Before this, Asaram’s interim bail had been rejected by a Rajasthan court.
Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement among other charges.
Earlier this year, A Gujarat court had sentenced Narayan Sai, Asaram’s son, to life imprisonment in a rape case. Additional Sessions Judge PS Gadhvi handed down the sentence to Sai and asked him to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the victim.
The sessions court found Narayan Sai guilty of rape, unnatural offences, assault, criminal intimidation and conspiracy.
Besides Sai, lodged at the Lajpore Jail here since 2013, the court sentenced his three aides, including two women, to 10 years each in jail after holding them guilty of various offences. His driver Rajkumar alias Ramesh Malhotra was sentenced to six months in prison.
Sai’s three aides, Dharmishtha alias Ganga, Bhavna alias Jamuna and Pavan alias Hanuman, were sentenced to 10 years each, while his driver was convicted under IPC Section 212 (harbouring an offender).
Convicted for raping a minor girl, Asaram had sought his life sentence be diluted and had sent a mercy plea to the Governor of Rajasthan seeking the same. Asaram had cited his age and the “gruelling” punishment as reasons for seeking dilution of his life sentence.