The in-camera trial in the sexual assault case against controversial self-styled godman Asaram Bapu will begin at the District and Sessions Court here on March 19, with the victim deposing on March 25. "We submitted the list of 58 witnesses in the court today for evidence. The trial will begin from March 19," Public Prosecutor R L Meena said.
Laxmi, the Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) of the police station at New Delhi where the victim had filed her FIR will be the first to depose before the court on March 19, Meena said. "This will be followed by another ASI of the same police station and the doctors who had examined the victim," said Meena, adding that the victim girl will depose on March 25.
A revision petition filed by the defence side against the charges framed by the court against Asaram and four co-accused is pending before the high court. But District and Sessions Court Judge Manoj Kumar Vyas decided that the petition should not affect the trial.
The other co-accused in the case are Sanchita Gupta alias Shilpi, the warden of Asaram's ashram in Chhindwara, his cook Prakash, aide Shiva and ashram director Sharad Chandra, who are out on bail.
Meanwhile, the prosecution has once again started efforts to get the Investigation Officer of the case ACP Chanchal Mishra designated as the Case Officer of the case. "We had approached the ADG (Crime) Ajit Singh to appoint Mishra as the Case Officer until the trial was over in order to help us in having a speedy and hassle-free trial. But despite his accepting our demand and writing to the Jodhpur Police, she has been transferred," Meena said.
Asaram, 75, was arrested in August last year on charges of sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram and has been in a prison in Jodhpur since then.