Rajasthan HC allows prosecution plea in Asaram Bapu sexual assault case

Jodhpur: In a setback to self-styled godman Asaram Bapu accused of sexual assault, the Rajasthan High Court has allowed a prosecution plea and directed the nodal officer of the telecommunication company to appear in the trial court.

The HC also gave the defence liberty to cross examine the officer.

The prosecution had moved the High Court seeking permission to summon the nodal officer of the telecom company, by whom the call details were provided to the investigation officer along with the certified copies supported by the verification certificate issued by him to be taken on record.

“In the absence of this, the call details record could be treated by the trial court as secondary evidence and could be excluded from consideration during the final decision,” said prosecution counsel PC Solanki.

The defence opposed this argument stating that the defence of the accused has already been closed and it would be prejudiced to allow this prayer of the prosecution.

After hearing both the sides, justice Sandeep Mehta allowed the plea of the prosecution to summon the nodal officer of the telecom company with a liberty to the defence to cross examine him.

“However, it is made clear that if the prosecution desires to file the call details in addition to the certificate of the nodal officer then, the entire call details for the relevant period without any filtering shall be filed on record and shall be allowed to be proved by summoning the nodal officer of the service provider,” the order said.

In another setback to Asaram, the court rejected another petition seeking call details of the girl, who was allegedly sexually assaulted, and her family between August 13, 2013 and August 16, 2013.

While rejecting the plea, justice Mehta said in his order that these details should have been called during the testimony of the victim and her family in the trial court.

“But seeking them now at the fag end of the trial, is just a move to stall the trial,” said the order.

The defence had sought this detail on the ground that the call details of this period was missing from the details provided by the investigation officer.

“The prosecution cannot be selective and they are necessary for a fair trial,” the defence had argued.

A teenaged girl of Asaram’s Chindwara (MP)-based gurukul had accused him of sexual assault at his ashram at village Manai near Jodhpur.

The girl belonging to Shahjahanpur (UP) was the student of the gurukul run by Asaram and had been allegedly advised to come to Jodhpur in the name of some treatment. Followed by her complaint against Asaram, he was arrested by Jodhpur police on August 31, 2013 and is in jail since then.

The trial of the case is currently in progress in the sessions court here.