The Rajasthan Police on Monday issued summons to controversial self-styled godman Asaram Bapu in connection with allegation of sexual assault levelled against him by a minor girl.
The police issued a summon and delivered it on Monday to a representative of Asaram in Ahmedabad.
“We have issued summons to Asaram Bapu and asked him to appear before us to record his statement within four days of receiving it,” DCP (West) Jodhpur Ajay Pal Lamba said.
“We called Asaram Bapu’s representative from the ashram to a local police station in Ahmedabad and executed the summons,” he said.
“After the primary investigation it turned out that the victim’s accusations were prima facie established. Hence we summoned Asaram Bapu to remain present before us,on or before August 30,to record his statement,” Lamba said.
However,authorities at Asaram Bapu’s ashram here denied receiving any such communication from the Jodhpur police related to the complaint.
“Until this moment,we have not received any communication either from the Jodhpur police or on their behalf from local police,” said Asaram Bapu’s Motera Ashram spokesperson Sunil Vankhede.
Asaram Bapu was booked on charges of raping a 15-year-old girl at his ashram in Jodhpur after a complaint was filed by the victim’s father on August 19. According to the police,the incident occurred on August 15.
Currently,Asaram is in his Indore ashram for spending time in ‘solitude’.
Earlier on Monday,members in Lok Sabha demanded stern action against Asaram,prompting the government to say the probe against him was underway.
A first information report (FIR) was registered against Asaram Bapu in Jodhpur after receiving a copy of the complaint from Delhi Police on August 21.
The police registered a “Zero FIR” (an FIR registered irrespective of the place of incident) and booked Asaram under Sections 376 (rape),509 (word,gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). The case was later transferred to Jodhpur.
Meanwhile,police teams fanned out to various ashrams of the spiritual guru looking for evidence based on the statement of the girl.
The victim,accompanied by her parents,had reached Jodhpur on August 14. On the evening of August 15,the victim and her parents reportedly went to meet Asaram Bapu.
Protests against spiritual guru
Meanwhile,protests were held in Jaipur and other parts against Asaram.
Women organisations held a demonstration near Rajasthan Assembly building demanding arrest of the godman and submitted a representation addressed to chief minister.
“Rape and sexual abuse are serious crime and no culprit should be spared. Asaram should be arrested as soon as possible in connection with the case registered against him,” Renuka Pamecha,an activist said.
In Chhindwara,Madhya Pradesh,activists of Dharamyuddh Sena burnt an effigy of the spiritual guru while members of the Gondwana Gantantra Party ubmitted a memorandum to the district administration seeking closure of Asaram’s ashram in the district.
A police team from Jodhpur has been camping in the district as the victim was studying in Asaram’s Chhindwar gurukul before she was sent to Jodhpur ashram where the alleged incident took place.
(With PTI inputs)