Asaram fails to appear before Jodhpur police, may face arrest
Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu may face arrest after he failed to present himself before Jodhpur police for questioning in a sex assault case with his son claiming that he was suddenly taken ill
In Jodhpur, Rajasthan police said a team would be sent to Madhya Pradesh to interrogate 72-year-old Asaram who was issued summons to appear before the Jodhpur police by today. In Ahmedabad, an application was moved on his behalf before the Gujarat High Court for transit anticipatory bail.
Asaram's counsel Sudhir Nanavati withdrew the bail plea after Justice A J Desai indicated that he was inclined to reject it. Asaram is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old schoolgirl and inmate of his ashram. His son Narayan Sai claimed that his father had booked tickets for a flight to New Delhi this morning but his health suddenly deteriorated because of which the trip was cancelled.
Asked when Asaram plans to go to Jodhpur, Sai told reporters that it will all depend on the medical condition of his father. Ajay Lamba, DCP, Jodhpur said, “Asaram has no justifiable reason to skip the deadline." A team led by the investigation officer will leave for Madhya Pradesh to question him, he said.
Asaram had said that if he is sent to jail, he would begin a fast as he did not trust the food which would be served to him as "part of a conspiracy". This came after senior BJP leaders from Madhya Pradesh, Uma Bharti and Prabhat Jha had recently defended Asaram, terming rape charges against him as a "Congress conspiracy".
The controversial godman had yesterday accused Congress President Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul, without naming them, for getting him framed in the sexual assault controversy. "I am not against any party but people tell me that it is at the instance of madam and her son that this is happening. For four-years-and-a-half those behind (religious) conversions are getting their support," Asaram had said in Bhopal.
In Ahmedabad, Justice Desai made it clear that looking into the gravity of the charges against Asaram, he is not inclined to grant the prayer for 15-day transit anticipatory bail and asked Nanavati to approach a proper court seeking relief. The judge also refused to go into the merits of the case.
The court asked the petitioner's lawyer whether they need an order or are willing to withdraw the plea. Nanavati sought a few minutes and after consulting Asaram over phone, informed the court that he is withdrawing the petition. "Asaram wants to approach a proper court, which is the Rajasthan High Court for his anticipatory bail, and he needs protection till he reaches there," Nanavati had told the court earlier.