New Delhi: The Gujarat government today told the Supreme Court that the victim in a rape case involving self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu will be examined from January 29.
The top court adjourned the hearing on the bail plea of Asaram by nine weeks and said it will taken it up after the victim is examined by the trial court. A bench of Justices N V Ramana and A M Sapre which was initially inclined to dismiss the bail petition said the petitioner can easily approach after the victim is examined.
The court had on January 15 sought to know the status of trial in a rape case involving Asaram and asked the Gujarat government to file a progress report on it. Asaram’s counsel had then told the court that in the Gujarat case, out of 92 witnesses, 22 material witnesses have been examined, 14 of them are dropped and rest need to be examine.
On August 28, the apex court had expressed anguish over the tardy pace of progress in the rape case and had asked the state government to file the report. On April 12 last year, the apex court had asked the Gujarat trial court to expedite the recording of evidence of prosecution witnesses in a sexual assault case lodged by two Surat-based sisters against Asaram.
Earlier, the top court had refused to grant bail to Asaram on various grounds in the two sexual assault cases lodged in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement among other charges.
The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 when she was staying at his ashram near Ahmedabad. In the case in Rajasthan, a teenage girl had accused him of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a student living in the ashram.
The apex court had on November 18 last year sought the response of the Centre and five states on a plea seeking a CBI probe into the alleged murder of children and attacks on several witnesses in the Asaram rape cases. Asaram was arrested by Jodhpur Police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then.