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Rajasthan HC rejects Asaram's bail petition

In a major blow for jailed self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, the Rajasthan High Court today rejected Asaram's bail plea. The controversial godman has been arrested for allegedly raping a minor girl at his ashram in Jodhpur last year.

While rejecting Asaram's bail petition, Justice Nirmal Jeet Kaur dismissed arguments of the defence counsel and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, who had contended that the charges under section 376(2) (rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age), and others are not practical anymore.

Jethmalani raised questions over the allegations of the victim, claiming that Asaram did not call her to the ashram and it was the girl who had come to meet Asaram with her parents. Jethmalani argued that the court should grant bail to Asaram because he has spent a long time behind bars and is not in good health.

The prosecution countered Jehtmalani's arguments, stressing that the charge sheet strengthens the allegations against the accused. "Besides this, there has not been any change in the circumstances of the case," government counsel Mahipal Bishnoi said.

Justice Kaur heard both sides patiently and then rejected the bail application. It may be recalled that on February 3 the court had reserved the order after completion of the arguments.

Asaram was arrested from his ashram in Indore in August last year on charges of sexually assaulting the teenage girl, who belongs to UP. He was brought to Jodhpur from Indore and is lying behind bars since then.