Asaram convicted of raping 16-year-old who was studying in his gurukul
New Delhi: A trial court in Jodhpur, has pronounced life term for Asaram who was convicted of raping a teenager from Shahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The 16-year-old was studying at his ashram in Chhindwara. Asaram was arrested and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013 and has been in custody since September 2. Security has been stepped up around the teenager's house in Shahajahanpur and as per the directions of the union home ministry, security has been stepped up in Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh where he has a thousands of followers.
Here is your 10-point cheetsheet on who is Asaram
Asaram Bapu aka Asumal Thaumal Harpalani was born on April 17, 1941, in Sindh province of Pakistan.
After Independence, Asaram Bapu's family moved to Ahmedabad in India, where his father started a business in coal and wood supply.
He studied at Jai Hind High School upto class 3, and reportedly ran away to an ashram in Bharauch, according to a biographical book on him.
At the age of 15, Asaram Bapu was married to Laxmi Devi. They have three children; one among them is Narayan Sai, who is an accused in one of the rape cases.
A spiritual leader, Lilashah, took him as his disciple in October 1964. Between 1981 and 1999, both the Congress and BJP governments allotted Asaram's ashrams land for expansion. There are pending cases against him over encroachment of land in several courts. He set up his first ashram in Motera on the banks of Sabarmati, in 1972
Asaram has created an empire of Rs 10,000 crore within four decades, excluding the market value of vast tracts of land that he holds.
He started from a humble hut on the banks of the Sabarmati river in the early 70s to over 400 ashrams across the country and the world now. He has over 40 million followers according to his website.
Ashrams and schools referred to as gurukuls are lavishly spread over hundreds of acres in prime locations of Jodhpur, Chindwara, Indore, Rohtak and Ahmedabad. He also has sprawling ashrams in New Jersey and other locations in the US.
There was huge public outcry after Asaram blamed the girl in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case in 2012. He had said the the girl should have "begged" her attackers to stop.
Asaram's legal troubles started after the mutilated bodies of two boys were found at his ashram in Motera in Gujarat. The self-styled godman's dark details started spilling after the Gujarat government was forced to order a probe following public outrage.