Ashupal Harpalani, also known as Asaram Bapu, a self-described religious leader, was found guilty of rape and criminal instigation on Monday, January 30, by a District and Sessions Court in Gandhinagar. Self- Styled Godman Asaram is sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 376 and 377 in a sexual assault case. The Court ordered Rs. 50,000 ex gratia to the victim.
Asaram was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl from Uttar Pradesh's Shahajahanpur at his ashram in the Manai Village near Jodhpur on the evening of August 15 in 2013. The following month, he was brought to Jodhpur Central prison, where he filed many bail requests.
While Asaram was jailed, several crucial witnesses in the case were harmed or disappeared. Amrut Prajapat, a doctor of Asaram, was shot in June 2014 in Rajkot, Gujarat. His chef Akhil Gupta and Kripal Singh, another important witness, were shot and killed in Uttar Pradesh in 2015.
After the victim's father alleged that the followers of the self-styled "godman" had threatened his life and the lives of his family members, Uttar Pradesh police increased protection for the victim's family last year.
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