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Asaram Bapu case: Defence alleges conspiracy to defame saints

Thursday, 16 January 2014 - 8:40pm IST | Place: Jodhpur | Agency: PTI

The defence in sexual assault case involving Asaram on Thursday argued before a local court that the self-styled godman was a victim of "international conspiracy" hatched to defame the saint community in India.

Defence lawyer Omkar Singh Lakhawat on Thursday started arguing the case after the prosecution completed its arguments yesterday in the District and Session court here.

"There is an international level conspiracy against the saint community in India and Asaram has been targeted as part of this vicious conspiracy as he was a very popular saint of the country," Lakhawat told the court here.

Lakhawat, who is also BJP's state vice president, claimed Asaram was "innocent and has been implicated" in the case.

He also produced some documents before the court in support of his theory.

When asked if BJP wanted to defend Asaram, he said that he was a professional lawyer and has appeared as Asaram's counsel.

"There was no political connotation in it. I am here just in a capacity of a lawyer, who has appeared in the court for his client," he said.

On Wednesday, two BJP MLAs shared dais with some saints and supporters of Asaram here in an All India Saint Convention organised to start a movement in favour of Asaram.

Veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani is already pleading Asaram case in the High Court, where the arguments on his bail application are in progress.

Asaram is charged with wrongful confinement and rape of a 16-year-old girl.

Meanwhile, thousands of Asaram Bapu's followers thronged the court to have a glimpse of the godman and pay obeisance to him on the occasion of "purnima" (full moon day), creating a ruckus and manhandling a lawyer in the melee.

Police said they had a tough time controlling the huge crowd and dispersing them. They said some devotees were detained and later let off in the outskirts of the city.

Police put up barricades to keep the followers away, but the restless devotees in a frenzy to have a glimpse of Asaram resorted to pushing and jostling.

"This led to a tiff between some lawyers and the followers, which resulted in manhandling of a lawyer by the crowd," said a police officer.

"We immediately swung into action, free the lawyer from the crowd and dispersed them," the officer said.

Some followers also assembled outside the Jodhpur Central Jail. They chanted hymns in reverence of Asaram, bowed and planted garlands on the jail gate.


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