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asaramThe district & sessions judge (Jodhpur) read out charges to Asaram Bapu and four co-accused in a sexual harassment case here on Thursday. However, all the accused denied the charges and opted for trial, upon which the court adjourned till February 17.

A pall of gloom descended on Asaram after hearing the charges in the court. He, however, expressed trust in the judicial proceedings but the helplessness was quite apparent on his face while coming out of the court.

“Everything will be fine and truth will win,” Asaram uttered while being taken back to jail. Shiva, a co-accused, out on bail, also expressed trust in judiciary. “Bapu will also be out soon and the entire conspiracy will be laid bare,” he said. Earlier on Monday, Sevaram Hethwaria alias Shiva and Sanchita Gupta alias Shilpi were granted bail by the high court.

Sessions judge Manoj Kumar Vyas had ordered framing of charges against them on Friday after completion of arguments but had deferred the reading of charges till Thursday.

Asaram has been framed under sections 342, 354A, 370(4), 376(2)f, 376D, 506, 509/34 and 120 (B) of IPC and sections 23 & 26 of Juvenile Justice Act and Section 5(f)/6, 5(g)/6 and 7/8 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Rest of the accused had been framed under same sections except Section 109/120(B) instead of just 120(B) and Section 7/8 read with Section 17 of POCSO Act instead of just Section 7/8 of POCSO Act. Shiva and Prakash had not been framed under Juvenile Justice Act.

After reading of charges, counsel of Asaram moved two applications in the court praying to make available the visuals of the victim recorded by an ASI of Kamla Nagar police station at New Delhi and the call details of the communication between accused and the victim’s parents. Earlier also, the defence has demanded from the court the recorded visuals of the spot of crime, which the lower court had granted permission to but was challenged by the prosecution in the high court.

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