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Asaram Bapu, 2 other accused, found guilty of raping minor girl at ashram in 2013

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Jodhpur: In a much-awaited verdict, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Wednesday convicted self-styled godman, Asaram Bapu and two others accused of raping a teenager at his ashram in 2013.
Two attendants of Asaram were acquitted by the Jodhpur court in the case.
In the case registered in Rajasthan, a 16-year-old girl from Shahajahanpur of Uttar Pradesh had accused Asaram of raping her at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur on the night of August 15, 2013.
Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He has been under judicial custody since September 2, 2013.
After the conviction, Asaram’s spokesperson Neelam Dubey said that after discussion with their legal team a future course of action will be decided.
Hailing the verdict, the victim’s father said that the family had finally got justice.
“I want to thank everyone who supported us in this fight. Now I hope he will get strict punishment. I also hope the witnesses who were murdered or kidnapped get justice,” he said.
Asaram was taken into police custody in August 2013, following which he was taken to Jodhpur Central jail. A month later, a potency test was conducted on him and was produced before a Jodhpur court.
In November the same year, the chargesheet filed against Asaram and four others — Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash — had indicated blackmail in exchange of sexual favours, after which the former was booked under Sections 342, 376, 506 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
In the years that followed, a number of the key witnesses in the case were attacked or went missing. In 2014, Asaram’s personal aide was shot dead, while another associate was killed in 2015 in Muzaffarnagar. In the same year, two more witnesses were attacked by unidentified individuals, while another witness went missing from Lucknow.
While the self-styled godman has filed a number of bail petitions, a total of 12 applications were rejected by the trial court, the Rajasthan High Court, and the Supreme Court.
Asaram is also facing a rape case in Surat in Gujarat in which the Supreme Court earlier this month gave five weeks time to the prosecution to complete the trial.
Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against the self-styled godman and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape.
Previously on Tuesday, the Centre asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana to tighten security and deploy additional forces ahead of the verdict.


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CJI recuses from hearing petition challenging interim CBI chief appointment

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New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Gogoi has sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.

CJI Gogoi said he cannot hear plea as he would be part of the committee meeting to select the next CBI director.

 

.The plea will now be heard on January 24 by another bench.

The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.

A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.

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‘Not safe’: Mamata refuses to allow Amit Shah’s chopper to land in Malda, BJP cries foul

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KOLKATA: In yet another attempt by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to stop Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah from addressing rally in the state, the state government has denied permission for landing of Shah’s helicopter in Malda district.

The BJP president, who was recently treated for swine flu at AIIMS in New Delhi, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on January 22. As per BJP’s plan, Shah will reach Kolkata and then take a helicopter from there to reach Malda where he will participate in a public rally with BJP workers from North Bengal.

The Malda district administration has informed the BJP that it is not possible to grant permission to land helicopters at Malda airport this week.

 

“As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site,” Additional District Magistrate of Malda said in a letter to BJP.

The letter added that the ongoing construction work has also affected the maintenance of temporary helipad at the airport and it is not possible to grant permission to Shah’s chopper to land at Malda Airport.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of BJP Malda unit had written to Malda DM saying that West Bengal government is using Malda Airport for landing their helicopter every Wednesday and they are refusing permission to Shah’s helicopter.

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Centre threatening to impose Prez’s rule in Andhra: Chandrababu

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Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday alleged that the Centre was threatening to impose President’s Rule in the state but, he said, nobody would be cowed down by such threats.

He claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “negative leader” under whose leadership the country was regressing. Addressing a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, he attacked the prime minister and the BJP, saying they did nothing special for Andhra.

“They say one Union minister will come to the state every week. What good have they done for the state? On top of it, they are issuing threats that President’s Rule will be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. There is nobody here to be cowed down by their threats,” Naidu said.

 

Referring to the opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata two days ago, the TDP chief said it marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule and gave confidence to the people of the country. “We will hold a similar rally in Amaravati in which leaders of 22 parties will take part,” Naidu added.

The TDP chief lashed out at his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, saying they were working under Modi’s direction.

The TRS and the YSRC were conspiring to create misgivings among the backward classes so that they are distanced from the TDP, he alleged. He said the backward communities should unitedly thwart such attempts.

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