Asaram's judicial custody extended, bail hearing Wednesday

Jaipur, Sep 16 (IANS) A court in Rajasthan Monday extended, by 14 days, the judicial custody of spiritual guru Asaram Bapu, arrested for sexually assaulting a minor girl, while the state high court slated his bail plea for hearing Wednesday.

Asaram filed a bail application in the Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan High Court Friday.

"The arguments on bail application remained inconclusive today (Monday) and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur has now fixed Sep 18 as next hearing date, when the case diary will also be presented before the court," said lawyer Jagmal Singh Chaudhry, one of the defence lawyers for Asaram.

The arguments from defence side are almost completed and the prosecution will now put its case forward Wednesday, opposing the bail to the tainted spiritual guru.

Eminent advocate Ram Jethmalani appeared for Asaram in the high court Monday.

Meanwhile, a lower court in Jodhpur extended Asaram' judicial custody by 14 days, police said.

The 72-year-old Asaram was Monday presented before court of district and sessions judge (Jodhpur rural).

"Asaram was presented in the court following completion of his judicial custody today (Monday). Earlier, he appeared before the same court Sep 2. The court then remanded him in judicial custody till Sep 16," a police official told IANS.

He said the court Monday extended Asaram's judicial remand till Sep 30.

A 16-year-old girl on Aug 20 lodged a police complaint, accusing Asaram of sexually assaulting her at his ashram near Jodhpur.

Asaram was arrested from his ashram in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and brought to Jodhpur Sep 1.

Immediately after his arrest, Asaram filed an application for bail in the same court, which rejected the plea Sep 4.