Former Gujarat IPS officer DG Vanzara, a key accused in the alleged fake encounters of Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin Sheikh, on Wednesday came out in defence of Asaram Bapu, saying the survivor never said in the FIR that she was raped. Asserting that it was improper to dub Asaram a “rapist” for being convicted in the 2012 “sexual assault case”, Vanzara said the chargesheet mentioned that the godman tried to touch the victim improperly.
“We respect the decision of the Jodhpur court. However, it is improper to dub Asaram as a rapist for being convicted in the sexual assault case,” the former Gujarat top cop, who arrived at the Ahmedabad ashram of Asaram and met with officials on Wednesday, said. Vanzara, who said he was a follower of the self-styled godman, later addressed the media and waved a copy of the FIR to substantiate his claims.
“In the FIR lodged by the victim or in the chargesheet filed, nowhere does it say that she was raped. What it says is that he tried to touch her improperly,” said Vanzara. The IPS officer also said that during the trial, the victim never mentioned she was raped. “Her virginity was found to be intact when medical tests were carried out. Her hymen was also intact. This was never a case of rape,” Vanzara, who addressed Asaram as Bapuji throughout the address, said.
Vanzara even wondered if Asaram had really “touched” the victim and said the case was a conspiracy as the 77-year-old godman was a “protector of the Sanatan Hindu dharma”. “The victim said ‘Bapuji’ had touched her with bad intent, which is also a crime. But I doubt whether Asaramji did so,” IANS quoted Vanzara as saying. He said they would appeal against the verdict at a higher court. “We respect this decision but will go to the higher court against it. We believe that we will get justice,” he said.
A court in Jodhpur on Wednesday convicted Asaram Bapu, who was accused by a 16-year-old minor of rape and sexual assault and sentenced him to life imprisonment till death. The SC/ST court of special judge Madhu Sudan Sharma, Jodhpur metro, pronounced the verdict in the case against Asaram and four of his associates – Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya – from Jodhpur Central Jail itself fearing violence from the godman’s supporters. Sanchita alias Shilpi and Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra were sentenced to twenty years imprisonment each, while Prakash and Shiva were acquitted.