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Asaram pleads not guilty of charges in rape case

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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 17 February.

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 today.

The court framed charges against Asaram for rape, criminal conspiracy and other offences on Friday.

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.

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