Guru gets lifers for 13 rapes

The Times of India/April 5, 2005

New Delhi -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed life imprisonment for two consecutive terms against a spiritual guru who raped 13 girls and murdered an inmate in his Tamil Nadu ashram in 1994.

The Madras High Court had imposed the sentence on Swami Premananda of Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu.

An apex court bench consisting of Justices B N Aggarwal and H K Sema said: "We do not find any infirmity in the high court order and, therefore, it does not call for any interference."

Having regard for the gravity of the offence and the deleterious effect it had not only on the victim but also on society at large, the court said, "We maintain the trial court's order that the appellant is not entitled for remission of sentence given to the prisoner either by the centre or by the state government."

The charge against Swami Premananda was that hailing from Sri Lanka he came to Tiruchirapalli and established an ashram. There were several women, including foreigners, in the ashram.

In 1994, he is alleged to have raped 13 girls and also caused the death of an inmate called Ravi in the ashram.

The trial court had on Aug 21, 1997, convicted Swami Premananda to undergo life imprisonment for two terms consecutively and slapped a fine of Rs 6.6 million.

The judgement was confirmed by the high court in December 2002. The appeal in the apex court was against the high court judgement.

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