Asaram Bapu rape case: Supreme Court questions Gujarat govt. for slow trial

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The Supreme Court today questioned the Gujarat government over the slow pace of trial in the rape case involving self-styled godman Asaram Bapu.

Senior counsel Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the petitioner informed the Bench that the proceedings in Gujarat are lagging behind and there is inordinate delay in examination of witnesses.

Asaram Bapu's son Narayan Sai had also been named in connection with a rape case registered against him by the Gujarat state.

It is for the court to take a decision (on expediting the trial).

On August 1, the Apex Court heard the plea filed by Asaram in this case.

A Surat-based woman has accused Asaram of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 when she was living in his Ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city.

The apex court had in October a year ago sought the Centre's response and five states on a plea seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged murder of children through black magic and attacks on ten witnesses in Asaram's rape cases. The trial in this case is pending in a court in Gandhinagar. Also, in Rajasthan, a teenage girl had accused Asaram of sexual assault at his ashram near Jodhpur.

Since August 2013, the 74-year-old Asaram Bapu has been in a Rajasthan jail over allegations of raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl in his ashram in Gujarat's Surat earlier the same year.

This is not the first time that the apex court has noted unnecessary delay in the case.

The apex court had on November 18 previous 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 ten witnesses in the Asaram rape cases. Until 2015, nine witnesses were attacked, of which three died.

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