Asaram's lawyers trying to linger the trial: Public prosecutor

Written by PTI | Jodhpur | Updated: Sep 1 2014, 02:09am hrs
One year after self-styled godman Asaram was arrested on charges of raping a minor, the trial in the case is unable progress much due to the delaying tactics of the defence, the public prosecutor in the case today alleged.

"The trial had begun on March 19 and we had been expecting it to complete in 5-6 months but consistent efforts of the defence to linger the trial by means of filing over 20 applications one after another with different pleas hardly let the trial progress," public prosecutor R L Meena said.

Also, due to strike in the courts, the trial has stalled again since the last 40 days, he said.

This is despite the high court having directed the District & Session court on November 8 last year, where the trial has been progressing 'in-camera', to conduct the proceedings on day-to-day basis.

Only 11 prosecution witnesses out of 58 have been examined so far in 5 months, the public prosecutor said.

According to the provisions of Protecting Of Children from Sexual Offense (POCSO) Act, the trial has to complete and the judgment pronounced in one year in such cases.

Jodhpur police had arrested Asaram from his Indore ashram on the night of August 31, 2013 and had brought him to Jodhpur on September 1.

After an investigation, the police had filed a charge-sheet against him in the court on November 5, comprising 1021-pages supported by 121 documents.

The four co-accused, Sanchita Gupta alias Shilpi, Shiva, Prakash and Sharad Chandra, who also were arrested by the police after a few days, are out on bail.

However, about half a dozen attempts of Asaram to get bail have been rejected by all the courts, right from the trial court to the apex court.

Prosecution counsel P K Verma said that the examination of the victim's mother, the 12th prosecution witness, was in progress in the trial court but it has stalled since 40 days due to the strike.

"During all this period, the family of the victim continued to receive threats," he claimed , adding that recently due to one similar attempt, the victim's mother had expressed her inability to speak in the court.