Video-conferencing feasibility in Asaram trial to be checked: Gujarat govt

Gandhinagar: The Gujarat government on Monday told a court in Gandhinagar that it will need some more time to check the feasibility of producing self-styled godman Asaram through video-conferencing facility to expedite the rape trial process against him.

After considering the arguments put forward by Special Public Prosecutor R C Kodekar on behalf of the government, Additional Sessions Judge R A Ghoghari posted the case for hearing on November 2.
On October 15, Asaram had written a letter to the court in Gandhinagar seeking fast-track trial in an alleged rape case against him filed by a Surat-based woman.

During the arguments today, Kodekar told the court that in order to expedite the trial, there should be a video conferencing facility available in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur prison, where Asaram is lodged at present, as he is facing another rape case trial there.

Kodekar sought more time from the court to find out if the jail is equipped with video-conferencing facility, which can be used to produce Asaram in Gandhinagar court without bringing him here, and save time.

Asaram had in the letter to the Gandhinagar court urged it to expedite the trial of the rape case against him, saying he is an elderly person and has been framed in a false case. He said in the letter that he has been in jail for a long period and the case against him in Gujarat is not proceeding further.

Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape, sexual assault and illegal confinement.

The elder sister had in her complaint against Asaram accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 during the time she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The 73-year-old controversial religious preacher had also sought temporary bail in the alleged rape case in March this year, which was rejected by the Gandhinagar court The framing of charges against Asaram and others accused in the case is pending in the court.

Asaram was arrested in September 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.