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Court orders Asaram Bapu to appear via videoconferencing

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Press Trust of India Gandhinagar
A local court hearing a rape case against self-styled religious leader Asaram Bapu, lodged in a jail in Rajasthan, today ordered him to appear before via videoconferencing.

Asaram, who is lodged in Jodhpur jail in connection with another rape case, had earlier declined to appear in the court via videoconferencing, despite the Gujarat High Court allowing the sessions court to conduct his trial through this facility.

Additional Sessions Judge Rashida Vora today allowed the application moved by the prosecution to produce Asaram in the court via videoconferencing, as he cannot be produced in person due to security concerns.

The rape victim today made her deposition before the court, and her further examination and cross-examination will be conducted between February 5 and 9 as decided by the court where Asaram will remain present via videoconferencing.

The trial is being conducted in-camera and details of deposition cannot be released as per the court order.

Twenty-six witnesses have so far been examined by the court which is holding the trial in-camera owing to risk to their lives.

The case relates to a complaint filed by a Surat-based woman, who has accused Asaram of raping her many times when she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city between 1997 and 2006.

The charge sheet also names Asaram's wife Lakshmiben, daughter Bharti and four women followers -- Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera. The charges against Asaram were framed in March 2016.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 10:20 PM IST

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