News East West
NEW DELHI, Sept 4: Godman Asaram Bapu, who was arrested on Sunday for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in his ashram on August 15, will remain in Jodhpur Central Jail as a court rejected his plea for bail on Wednesday.
The 72-year-old godman was sent to 14-day judicial custody on Monday after one-day police remand for interrogation. He was also put through a potency test which confirmed that the godman was capable of committing sexual assault after he claimed his innocence by saying that he was impotent.
Jagmal Singh Chaudhary, lawyer for the godman, sought bail for him on the grounds that police have erred in booking his client for rape charges which make the offence non-bailable.
But district and sessions judge Jodhpur Manoj Vyas refused to entertain the petition.
“We will approach the high court in a day or two after going through the order,’’ the lawyer for the godman said.
Public prosecutor Anand Purohit opposed bail for the godman on the grounds that if released he could influence the investigations as police are on the lookout for his two close aides.
Asaram Bapu was arrested from his Indore ashram in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday and brought to Jodhpur where he committed the alleged crime on August 15.
The septuagenarian godman allegedly molested the girl, who is a student at the gurukul (school) run by him at Chhindwada in Madhya Pradesh, in his Manai ashram near Jodhpur.
The girl was reportedly told by the keepers of the school that she is under the influence of spirits and needs to go to Asaram Bapu in Jodhpur where he would perform a special ritual for her health in an isolated place. The girl was allegedly raped by the godman on the night of August 15.
Two days later, she broke down and narrated her ordeal to her parents who filed an FIR against the godman.
Known for controversies, the godman outraged middle-class Indians when he suggested after the Delhi gangrape case in which a 23-year-old student was sexually assaulted and brutally injured by six maniacs on a moving bus in December, that the girl could have escaped by calling the six men her brothers and seeking forgiveness.