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Asaram's son gets life imprisonment in rape case

Last updated on: April 30, 2019 20:54 IST

A sessions court in Surat on Tuesday sentenced Narayan Sai, the son of jailed self-styled godman Asaram, to life imprisonment in a rape case filed against him by a former woman disciple in 2013.

Additional Sessions Judge P S Gadhvi handed down the life sentence to 47-year-old Sai and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him. The court also directed Sai to pay Rs 5 lakh as a compensation to the victim.

Sai's father Asaram was convicted by a Jodhpur court in a rape case in April last year and sentenced to life term.

 

Besides Sai, lodged at the Lajpore Jail since his arrest in 2013, the court on Tuesday sentenced his three aides, including two women, to 10 years each in jail for various offences related to the case.

His driver Rajkumar alias Ramesh Malhotra was sentenced to six months in jail.

The court had pronounced the judgment in the case on April 26 when it convicted five of the 11 accused and acquitted the rest. The judge had fixed April 30 for deciding the quantum of sentence to the convicts.

The court had convicted Sai under IPC sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 323 (assault), 506-2 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (conspiracy), while his aides were found guilty of abetment to the crime.

Sai's three aides, Dharmishtha alia Ganga, Bhavna alias Jamuna and Pavan alias Hanuman, were sentenced to 10 years each.

Dharmishtha, Bhavna and Pavan were held guilty of being part of a conspiracy, while Sai's driver Malhotra was convicted under IPC section 212 (harbouring offender).

The two women disciples (sadhvis) were accused of putting the victim in illegal confinement and thrashing her at Sai's behest.

Pavan, a "sadhak" (disciple) of Sai, was accused of abetment, including taking the victim to Sai's room.

Dharmishtha, Bhavna and Pavan were fined Rs 5,000 each by the court.

Of the 11 accused, the court had acquitted six for lack of evidence against them.

Earlier in the day, while arguing over the quantum of sentence, special public prosecutor P N Parmar sought "exemplary punishment" for Sai to set an example in society and Rs 25 lakh compensation for the victim.

Defence lawyer B M Gupta pleaded for minimum sentence and argued there was no evidence of use of force, allurement or pressure on part of the convict.

He said the FIR was delayed by over a decade and lodged more than 11 years after the crime was committed.

Gupta sought the minimum possible punishment of no more than four years in jail -- on the grounds that the convict had already spent over five years in jail and was all of 32 years of age when the offence was committed.

The defence lawyer also said the victim was not a minor.

The Surat police had filed a 1,100-page charge-sheet against Sai in 2014.

In 2013, after Asaram was arrested for allegedly raping a girl in Rajasthan, two Surat-based sisters had accused Asaram and his son of sexual exploitation.

The elder sister had accused Asaram of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 when she lived at his Ahmedabad ashram.

The younger sister had accused the godman's son of sexual assaults when she lived at Asaram's ashram in the Jahangirpura area of Surat between 2002 and 2005.

The incidents of multiple sexual assaults and unnatural sex with the victim had taken place between 2002 and 2005, but the case against Sai had been filed only in 2013.

Sai was arrested from the Delhi-Haryana border in December 2013.

When Sai was in jail, Surat police had claimed to have unearthed elaborate plans to bribe police officers, doctors and even judicial officers to weaken the case against him.

The trial against Asaram in the case filed by the Surat-based woman is going on at a Gandhinagar court. 

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