A key witness in the Jodhpur rape case against Asaram Bapu has been missing since 2015 from Lucknow while another was shot dead in Shahjahanpur in July that year.
The rape survivor’s lawyer, Pramod Kumar Verma, said Rahul Sachan, who is missing, was Asaram’s personal assistant. He added Kripal Singh was shot dead in July 2015 after he had testified how the survivor and her Shahjahanpur-based family were ardent Asaram followers.
The CBI, which took over the probe into the disappearance in 2016, remains clueless about Sachan’s whereabouts.
A man had earlier attacked Kanpur-resident Sachan with a knife outside a Jodhpur court in February 2015 when he was summoned as a prosecution witness.
Sachan has been untraceable since he took an Uttar Pradesh state roadways bus from Lucknow’s Qaiserbagh station on November 25, 2015. Police constable Amit Singh, who had been deployed for his security, had dropped him at the station.
Sachan had told Amit Singh he would return a day after without specifying his destination. His cellphone was switched off when Amit Singh contacted him. A kidnapping FIR was lodged against unidentified people in Lucknow on December 20, 2015.
Sachan’s call records showed his last location in Hardoi district on the day he boarded the bus from Qaiserbagh. He was also a witness in two other cases against Asaram in Ahmedabad and his son, Narayan Sai, in Surat.
The CBI took up Sachan’s case on the Allahabad High Court’s directions in August 2016.
Four people, including Asaram’s alleged follower Narayan Pandey, have been charged with Kripal Singh’s murder.
Kripal Singh’s brother-in-law, Avaneesh Singh, said his statement was recorded in Jodhpur case before he was murdered. “After his death, we stayed away from Asaram Bapu case proceedings. We are now not concerned with what judgement has come in the case,’’ said Avaneesh Singh. “We suffered the biggest loss of Kripal Singh’s death which can not be compensated with conviction or acquittal of Asaram Bapu.”
Kripal Singh’s widow, Moni, was five-month pregnant with her second child when he was killed. “Kripal was the lone earning member,’’ said Avaneesh Singh. He said Moni has been staying with them. “She gave birth to a baby boy. The Uttar Pradesh government did not provide any monetary help to Moni.’’