Asking the Gujarat government to file a detailed progress report, the Supreme Court today sought to know the status of trial in a rape case involving self-styled godman Asaram Bapu.
A bench of justices N V Ramana and A M Sapre was hearing a fresh bail plea filed by Asaram. The government gets time till January 22 to file the report.
“Tell us what is the stage of trial in the pending cases against him. The state government should file the status report by January 22”, the bench said.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra and advocate Saurabh Ajay Gupta, appearing for petitioner Asaram, said there were two cases pending against him -- one each in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
In the Gujarat case, out of 92 witnesses, 22 material witnesses have been examined, 14 of them are dropped and rest need to be examined, he said. Counsel appearing for Gujarat government said she needed some time to file the report.
The Self-styled godman had in November knocked the doors of the Supreme Court seeking early hearing on his pending bail plea in a rape case.
His counsel told the bench that trial proceedings before the lower court in Gujarat was getting delayed and recording of evidence of prosecution witnesses was not yet complete.
It is to be noted that on August 28 the Supreme Court had slammed the Gujarat government for the delay in conducting trial in a rape case against him.On April 12, the apex court had asked the Gujarat trial court to expedite the recording of evidence of prosecution witnesses in the case lodged by two Surat-based sisters.
The two sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement among other charges. The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 when she was staying at his ashram near Ahmedabad. Asaram and his son have denied all the allegations against them. Asaram, who is also facing a separate case in Rajasthan, was arrested by the Jodhpur Police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then.