A Gandhinagar-based magisterial court on Tuesday remanded self-styled godman Asaram in police custody for five days till October 19 in connection with a rape complaint lodged against him and seven others by a 33-year-old woman from Surat. The court passed the order in this regard while partially allowing a remand application of a Special Investigation Team (SIT),formed to probe the case,in which the latter had sought Asarams custody for 14 days.
Asaram was arrested by the Gujarat Police on Monday after securing his custody from Rajasthan. He was lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail in connection with a case of sexual assault on a minor girl.
Asaram was produced before the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate V A Budhdha on Tuesday. Seeking Asarams custody for 14 days,an inspector of the SIT moved a three-page remand application. In its application,the SIT stated that there were many inmates of his Ahmedabad-based ashram who have been named by the complainant as accused,but whose full names or whereabouts are not known,and Asarams interrogation was necessary to ascertain their identity. The police said that they would have to put Asaram through certain medical tests and theres a need to collect scientific evidence with the help of the Forensic Science Laboratory.
Asaram is accused of raping the complainant repeatedly between 2001 and 2007 near his ashram in Ahmedabad. Seven persons including his wife and daughter have been named as accused who abetted the alleged crime.
Asarams lawyer B M Gupta opposed the remand application,arguing that no such alleged incident took place and Asaram did not know the complainant. He argued that women are not permitted at Shanti Vatika,where the offence was allegedly committed.
The SIT chief said that they would request the state to provide another special prosecutor to make a water-tight case against Asaram. Looking at the sensitivity of the case,we will request the state government for another special prosecutor to assist us in the case against Asaram, said JCP (Sector-I) J K Bhatt.