A district court in Gandhinagar on Saturday ordered the superintendent of Jodhpur jail in Rajasthan to produce Asaram before it on May 27 for framing of charges in the alleged rape case lodged by a Surat-based woman.
The appearance of Asaram is needed as per the procedure before framing of charges against the accused persons. The trial of a case begins after completing the formality of framing of charges. In this case, apart from Asaram, there are six other accused, including his wife Lakshmi, daughter Bharti and four of his women followers — Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera. The court would frame charges for hatching a conspiracy, illegal confinement and rape. Special public prosecutor R C Kodekar said that the court had directed the jail superintendent to produce Asaram on May 27 as it has to frame charges against him. For framing of charges, the presence of the accused is required.
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Asaram is languishing in Jodhpur jail since his arrest in September 2013 in connection with an alleged sexual assault case lodged by a minor. Following this case, he was booked in another case by Ahmedabad police on a rape complaint by a Surat-based woman. The complainant’s sister had lodged a separate FIR against Asaram’s son, Narayan Sai, in Surat for allegedly raping her during her stay at his ashram. Following the duo’s arrest, there have been a series of attacks on witnesses. The latest was in Panipat on May 13 when Mahendra Chawla, a former aide of Asaram, was shot at by unidentified assailants.