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Verdict on Asaram: MHA issues precautionary advisory

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New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Ahead of a trial court’s verdict in rape case against self-styled godman Asaram, the Union Home Ministry on Tuesday issued an advisory to Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana to step up security in order to prevent any untoward incident, an official said.

The ministry also is in touch with the states concerned and Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba has spoken to top level administrative and police officials over the issue.

Apprehending a threat to law and order from followers of Asaram, security has been stepped up and prohibitory orders issued in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur where a trial court deliver its verdict against him in a rape case on Wednesday.

As per the directions of the Rajasthan High Court, the trial court will announce its verdict in the case in Jodhpur Central Jail premises.

Final arguments in the case had been completed by the special court for SC/ST cases on April 7 and the court had kept the order reserved to be pronounced on April 25.

Asaram was arrested on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Uttar Pradesh’s Shahajahanpur.

The victim, who was studying at Asaram’s ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, had alleged that the godman had called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.

Asaram was arrested from Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013.

A chargesheet against Asaram and four other co-accused namely Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash had been filed by police on November 6, 2013, under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Juvenile Justice Act and Indian Penal Code.

The trial of the case had begun in the district and session court on March 19, 2017, which had been shifted to the special court for SC/ST cases on December 16, 2016.

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