New Delhi: The Delhi Police said on Tuesday it is on high alert ahead of a trial court’s verdict in Jodhpur tomorrow in the alleged rape of a teenager by self-styled godman Asaram, who faces a minimum 10-year prison term if convicted.
A senior police official said the department is keeping a close watch on Delhi’s boundaries and inside the city areas, where Asaram’s supporters might gather after the judgement.
“We are in touch with police forces from neighbouring states to avert any untoward incident. Senior officers from districts and SHOs of police stations concerned have been directed to keep a watch in their respective areas,” he added.
According to Rajasthan High Court’s directions, the trial court will deliver its verdict inside Jodhpur Central Jail, where Asaram has been lodged for more than four years.
The godman is accused of raping a teenage girl from Shahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, who studied at his “ashram” in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. He has denied the charges.
The victim has alleged that Asaram called her to his ashram in Manai area near Jodhpur and raped her on the night of August 15, 2013.
The Union Home Ministry has sent an advisory to Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana governments to tighten security as large-scale violence had rocked Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh after a special court in Mohali convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh last year.
Asaram was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He is under judicial custody since September 2, 2013.
The chargesheet against Asaram and four other co-accused – Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash – was filed by police on November 6, 2013 under various sections of POSCO Act, Juvenile Justice Act and IPC. If convicted, Asaram could be jailed for a minimum of 10 years or awarded a maximum life term, according to prosecution lawyers.
Asaram also faces a rape charge in Gujarat’s Surat city, in which the Supreme Court earlier this month gave five weeks time to the prosecution to complete the trial.