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NEW DELHI: Narayan Sai, the son of godman Asaram Bapu, has been declared an absconder by a court in Surat on Monday.
The court order follows an application moved earlier in the day by Surat police seeking that Narayan Sai be declared an absconder as he has failed to appear before them for questioning in an FIR filed against Asaram and Narayan Sai by two sisters from Surat.
In the FIR, the two sisters have alleged that they were sexually exploited by godman Asaram Bapu and his son over a period of time while they worked and stayed at their ashrams in Ahmedabad and Surat.
According to their FIR filed in October, the elder sister says she was sexually exploited by Asaram Bapu between 1997 and 2006 at his Ahmedabad ashram.
The younger sister alleges in the FIR that she was beaten up, illegally confined and sexually exploited by the godman’s son Narayan Sai between 2002 and 2005 at their Surat ashram.
Narayan Sai has been on the run since the FIR was filed, even though his close aide has been arrested. Sai has reportedly shaved his beard and head to evade arrest. Raids to find him in Delhi, UP and Bihar have yielded no results.
But with the court declaring Narayan Sai an absconder, police can now seize his properties (ashrams).
Even as his son evades arrest, godman Asaram Bapu and four other accused have been slapped with a charge-sheet in the alleged rape of a minor by Asaram Bapu in his Manai ashram near Jodhpur on August 15.
The minor was a 16-year-old student at the Gurukul (school) run by him at Chhindwada in Madhya Pradesh. The girl, who had fallen ill, was allegedly 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. When her family took the girl to Asaram Bapu out of reverence for the godman, he allegedly sexually molested her on the night of August 15.
In the 1,011-page charge-sheet in this case, the godman and the four co-accused have been charged under Sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 376(2) (f) (rape of minor girl), 376 D (rape), 354-A (outraging the modesty of a woman), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 109 (abetment to an offence) of the Indian Penal Code.
Since the girl is a minor, police have also slapped Sections of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Act against the accused.
If found guilty, Asaram and the co-accused could be sentenced from 10 years to life term.
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