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Two bail pleas of Asaram to be heard together: SC

The bail plea of self-styled sect chief Asaram Bapu in a rape case lodged against him by a Surat -based woman in 2013 would be now heard along with a similar petition filed by him in another case lodged in Jodhpur, the Supreme Court said today.

“List along with SLP(Criminal)…,” a bench of Justices A K Sikri and N V Ramana said while tagging the plea with the other case in Jodhpur.

The apex court has already asked the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to set up a three-member panel to conduct medical examination on 79-year-old Asaram and file a report before it for disposal of his bail plea in the case registered in the Rajasthan city.

In July 2014, Asaram had sought bail on the ground that Gujarat Police had already filed a charge sheet. The 72-year- old religious preacher has maintained the sexual assault case against him had been filed with mala fide intention.

Asaram had further said the rape complaint was lodged 12 years after the alleged crime. The bail petition has said that even after the alleged incident in 2001, the victim had stayed in Asaram’s ashram till 2007.

Two Surat-based 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.

The sect leader is currently lodged in a Rajasthan jail after being arrested in September last for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.

The other case also relates to a rape case filed by a teenage girl who had accused Asaram of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl belonging to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh was a student at the ashram.