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NEW DELHI: The Rajasthan police have issued summons against godman Asaram Bapu to appear before them to record his statement in connection with charges of molestation and sexual abuse made against him by a minor girl last week.
“We have issued summons to Asaram Bapu and asked him to appear before us to record his statement within four days of receiving it,” DCP (West) Jodhpur Ajay Pal Lamba was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
“We called Asaram Bapu’s representative from the ashram to a local police station in Ahmedabad and executed the summons,’’ Lamba said.
The police official added, “After the primary investigation it turned out that the victim’s accusations were prima facie established. Hence we summoned Asaram Bapu to remain present before us, on or before August 30, to record his statement.’’
In her complaint filed at the Kamala Nagar police station in Delhi last week, the 16-year-old girl, who comes from Sahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, had alleged that she was sexually molested by the godman in his ashram near Jodhpur in Rajasthan state on the pretext of curing her of her illness on August 15.
The girl, currently a class XII student at Asaram Bapu’s gurukul (school) in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, had fallen ill. The godman allegedly advised her parents to bring the girl to Jodhpur.
When the girl was brought to Jodhpur on August 12, the godman reportedly 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 chief of Delhi Police chief said last week.
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.
This is when her parents registered a case against him in Delhi.The Delhi Police later transferred the FIR to their counterparts in Rajasthan state where the alleged crime took place. But the godman’s spokesman has said that the case is `fabricated.’
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.