Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court today rejected the bail application of Narayan Sai, the son of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who is facing rape charges saying prima facie evidence exists against the accused.
Justice S G Shah, while rejecting the plea, observed that prima facie evidence exists against the accused and it could lead to his conviction if witnesses in the case depose without fear or favour.
"It is certain that there is prima facie evidence against the applicant (Narayan Sai) for confirming commission of offence as per the charges levelled against him.
"Once, there is prima facie evidence regarding the alleged charges (of rape), nature of such accusation is certainly serious and if all the witnesses are allowed to depose without fear or favour, then conviction and punishment is certain," the Judge said in his order.
"The attitude and activities by the applicant clearly show he was involved in one bribe case to get rid of charges. Also, one witness has been killed and three others seriously injured and even the Investigating Officer was threatened.
Therefore, there is no ground in favour of him to release him on bail," Justice Shah noted. Sai moved the the High Court after a Surat Sessions Court turned down his bail application.
He sought bail on the ground of delay in lodging the FIR and conduct of the victim, a Surat-based woman. He has alleged the police had shown high handedness in conducting the inquiry and collected the evidence with some ulterior motive.
The state government, which has opposed the bail plea, has argued that the accused may tamper with evidence and interfere with the probe. Also, there is a possibility of him commissioning the same offence again.
The High Court has also pointed out that Sai evaded arrest after the FIR was filed against him. "If at all he is innocent, he should have surrendered to the judicial authority at the earliest and co-operated in the investigation," the Judge said.
Two Surat sisters had lodged complaints against Sai (43) and his father, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement, among other charges.
In her 2013 complaint, the younger of the two sisters had accused Sai of repeated sexual assault between 2002 and 2005 when she stayed in a Surat ashram managed by the father-son duo. The elder sister had filed a rape complaint against Asaram and a separate case is going on against him in a Gandhinagar Court.