File photo of self-styled godman Asaram. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Self-styled godman Asaram who was convicted of rape today had asked his victim to "surrender" to him, boasting that senior officials bowed their heads at him.
According to her statement, which figures in the verdict of the special court which sentenced Asaram to a life imprisonment, the godman said she should give up her plans to become a chartered accountant and instead study for a B.Ed.
He would then make her a teacher and later principal of his gurukul (school), he told her.
"What will you do by becoming a CA? Big officers bow their head at my feet," he said, according to the minor's statement.
The victim, a resident of Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, had gone to Asaram's ashram in Jodhpur with her parents for getting cured of an "evil spirit".
She was a student, staying at a hostel run by Asaram in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh. Shilpi, a warden there, had suggested that she meet the godman in Jodhpur.
Asaram met the family on August 14, 2013. He showed them his "kutiya", the place where he stayed in the ashram, and talked to the girl about what she wanted to do in life.
The next evening, he called the family and asked the parents to leave after making them recite some mantras.
He then told the 16-year-old girl to come to his room and asked her about her studies, according to the victim's statement. He assaulted her, keeping her confined in the room for near an hour and a half.
He told the victim to remain quiet about the assault but the girl informed her mother.
The parents lodged a complaint against Asaram at Kamla Market police station in Delhi. This was later transferred to Jodhpur.
While delivering the judgment, magistrate Madhusudan Sharma observed that the accused not only broke the trust of the victim but also tarnished the image of saints.
The defence counsel urged the court to consider Asaram's old age as well as the citations he had received from former presidents K R Narayanan and A P J Abdul Kalam, former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and other leaders.