The Supreme Court Monday rejected the bail plea of self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu, who is facing trial in a rape case lodged against him in Gujarat.
A bench comprising justices N V Ramana and Ajay Rastogi was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government, that the trial in the case was going on and 10 witnesses were yet to be examined.
The apex court was hearing Asaram’s plea against the January 2015 order passed by the Gujarat High Court which had dismissed his bail application in the case.
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.
The top court, while dismissing Asaram’s bail plea, said the lower court will proceed with trial and will not be influenced by the “prima facie” observations made by the Gujarat High Court in its 2015 order.
Last year, a Jodhpur court had sentenced Asaram to life term after finding him guilty of raping a teenager in his ashram five years ago in a separate case lodged against him in Rajasthan.
He has filed an appeal in the Rajasthan High Court against his conviction by the trial court in Jodhpur.
In April this year, Narayan Sai, the son of Asaram, was also sentenced to life imprisonment in a separate rape case lodged against him in Surat by a former woman devotee in 2013.
One of the two sisters, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 when she was staying at his ashram near Ahmedabad.
In the case lodged in Rajasthan, the teenager had accused Asaram of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a student living in the ashram.
Asaram was arrested by the Jodhpur Police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then.