Key witness in Asaram Bapu rape case missing from Lucknow for 11 months, CBI probes

Rahul Sachan is a witness in two cases against Asaram — in Jodhpur and Ahmedabad — and in another case against Narayan Sai in Surat.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow | Published:October 26, 2016 1:41 am
asaram bapu rape case, asaram bapu rape case witness, asaram bapu case witness missing, asaram bapu rape case witness, cbi asaram bapu, india news, indian express, A key witness in three rape cases filed against Asaram Bapu has been missing for over 11 months. (File Photo)

THE Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case and started investigations into the alleged kidnapping of Rahul Sachan, a key witness in three rape cases filed against self-styled ‘godman’ Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai. The CBI took up the case on a direction issued by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court in August this year.

Sachan has been missing since November 25, 2015 after a police constable in his security reportedly dropped him at Qaiserbagh bus station in Lucknow.

“CBI has registered the case on charges of kidnapping and began its investigation,” said CBI spokeperson R K Gaur.

A native of Kanpur, Sachan is a witness in two cases against Asaram —- in Jodhpur and Ahmedabad —- and in another case against Narayan Sai in Surat. Sachan was stabbed in Jodhpur court in February last year where he was summoned as prosecution witness in the case.

Sachan, who had taken up a rented accommodation in Balaganj locality of Lucknow in October last year, was provided security by the Lucknow police on court’s direction.

After Sachan went missing, an FIR was lodged at Lucknow’s Thakurganj police station on charges of kidnapping. The police began investigation and collected call records of his cellphone, which showed his last location in Hardoi district on the day he boarded a bus from from Qaiserbagh on November 25. A police team also went to the house of Sachan’s friend in Delhi and few other places, including his native place in Kanpur, but failed to locate him. His parents in Kanpur too feigned ignorance about his whereabouts.

Constable Vijay Bahadur, who was in security of Sachan, had left for a week-long leave on November 21 last year and was replaced by constable Amit Kumar Singh. In his statement to police, Amit Singh said Sachan had asked to drop him at the Qaiserbagh bus station and told him that he would return in a day. He did not share any details about the place he was leaving for.

The next day, Amit Singh tried to contact Sachan but his cellphone came switched off. The constable then informed his in-charge Afzal Hasan Mehndi at the Police Lines in this regard.

After Vijay Bahadur returned from leave, he kept visiting Sachan’s rented house and later got an FIR lodged on December 20 alleging his “kidnapping”.

Later, a petition was filed by advocate Bennet Castelion, who is a member of the Bar Council of Maharastra and Goa, with the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court seeking CBI probe into missing of the key witness in the rape cases against Asaram. In August this year, court ordered for CBI probe.

Earlier, on Monday, the Supreme Court rejected an interim bail plea moved by Asaram Bapu on health grounds and asked him to get his treatment done in Rajasthan in judicial custody itself. The apex court’s direction came after Asaram said he wanted to undergo ayurvedic treatment in Delhi for which he needed one month’s interim bail.

On August 11, the apex court had denied interim bail to Asaram in a rape case and directed AIIMS, Jodhpur to set up a medical board to ascertain his health condition before taking up his regular bail plea.

Asaram was arrested by Jodhpur Police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then. A teenage girl had accused him of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a student living in the ashram.