A Jain monk of Digambara sect, Acharya Shantisagar Maharaj, who is accused in a rape case, was produced before Surat district court on Wednesday after the case was transferred from Judicial Magistrate court to Sessions court. The 49-year-old monk, who is in Surat jail, was produced before Surat district court on Wednesday and was also given a copy of the chargesheet filed by the Surat police in the case.
As per details, the monk has been accused of raping a 19-year-old girl of Vaododara, who had come to Surat to seek the monk’s blessings on October 1, 2017. The victim had lodged a police complaint with Athwalines police station on October 13, 2017. Police arrested the monk the very next day the offence was registered.
On Tuesday, Surat police had filed a chargesheet with Surat court. The monk was brought to Surat district court on Wednesday to commit the case to Sessions court where the trial will now begin in the case. The court also handed over a copy of the chargesheet to the monk.
Sources said police have submitted a chargesheet of 250 pages, which consist of the statements of 33 witnesses, including the parents of the victim and the call details of alleged conversations between the victim and the monk. Police have also submitted copies of WhatsApp chats between the victim and the complainant.
Defence lawyer Kalpesh Desai said, “We have got the copy of the chargesheet and we will fight the case. Today, the case was transferred from the Judicial Magistrate to Sessions court. We will again file bail application with the court in coming days on the basis of the chargesheet submitted by the Surat police.”
After the case was registered and the arrest of the Jain monk in October, several Jain community members had handed over a memorandum to the commissioner of police and sought free and fair investigations, alleging that their religious priest had been targeted due to some conspiracy. The monk was sent to judicial custody at Lajpore Central jail after police proceedings.