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NEW DELHI: Delhi Police have booked godman Asaram Bapu on charges of sexually assaulting a minor in his ashram near Jodhpur.
In her complaint filed at the Kamala Nagar police station here, the 16-year-old girl, who comes from Sahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, has alleged that she was sexually molested by the godman in his ashram on the pretext of curing her of her illness.
Throwing more light on the matter, Delhi Police Commissioner Biju George Joseph said that the girl, currently a class XII student, has been studying at Asaram Bapu’s gurukul (school) in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh for the past four years.
The Delhi Police chief said the girl fell ill at the gurukul recently. “When her parents brought the matter to the notice of (Asaram) Bapu, who was in Jodhpur then for religious meeting, he advised them to take the girl to Jodhpur,’’ the police chief said.
The girl was brought to Jodhpur on August 12. Asaram told her parents that he would perform a special ritual for her health in an isolated place.
“He took them (the girl and her parents) to his ashram at Manai (20 km from Jodhpur) on 14 August and observed the ritual with his parents on the same night. But next day, he said the second ritual will again have to be observed, but with the girl being alone with him in his hut. On the night of August 15, bapu took the girl in his hut and allegedly exploited her sexually (unnatural sex),” the Delhi Police chief said.
He said the girl was so shocked that she refused to accompany the godman to Ahmedabad and instead asked her parents to take her home. Two days later, she broke down and narrated her ordeal to her parents.
When her parents came to Delhi to confront Asaram Bapu, who was at a religious camp at the Ramlila Grounds between August 18-20, the godman refused to meet them, forcing her father to lodge a complaint against him in Delhi.
The Delhi Police chief said the father of the girl insisted the case be registered in Delhi because he feared that he might not get justice if it is registered in Jodhpur.
But Sunil Wankhede, spokesman for the godman, rubbished the allegation, saying that the whole issue has been `fabricated.’
He said the girl has alleged that her molestation took place on Aug 15. “But Asaram Bapu left Jodhpur on August 11. So how could this be true?” he asked.
The self-styled godman, who has a huge following in North India, caused outrage with his statement after the Delhi gangrape case in December, saying that the victim could have saved herself if she had addressed the goons who assaulted her as brothers and sought mercy.