Self-style godman Asaram Bapu and four others, accused in sexual exploitation of a minor girl, pleaded not guilty of the charges after these were read out to them by the Jodhpur District and Sessions Court judge on Thursday.
Asaram and the four co-accused denied the charges against them and opted for trial, upon which judge Manoj Kumar Vyas adjourned the matter till February 17.
The self-styled godman appeared pale and broken in the court after hearing the charges, but while boarding a bus back to jail he said that “everything will be fine”.
Asaram and the four co-accused, including Shiva and Shilpi who had been granted bail, appeared in the court on Thursday.
The court framed charges against Asaram for rape, criminal conspiracy and other offences on Friday.
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Charges have been framed under sections 342 (for wrongful confinement), 354A (sexual harassment), 370(4) (trafficking), 376(2)f (rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age), 506 (criminal intimidation), 509/34 and 120 (B) (Criminal conspiracy).
He has also been charged under section 23 and 26 of Juvenile Justice Act and section 5(f)/6, 5(g)/6 and 7/8 of POCSO Act.
Two other accused Shiva and Prakash have been framed under the same sections except section 109/120(B) instead of plain 120(B) and section 7/8 read with section 17 of POCSO Act instead of plain section 7/8 of POCSO Act. They have not been charged under J J Act.
Meanwhile, Asaram’s counsel has moved an application in the court praying to make available the statements of the victim recorded by Delhi Police.