The District and Sessions Court of Jodhpur (rural) remanded Asaram Bapu to a day’s police custody, on Sunday. The police team, which had arrested Asaram from Indore after midnight on Saturday amid high drama for allegedly raping a minor girl at his ashram a fortnight ago, reached Jodhpur in the afternoon.
After preliminary interrogation, the police presented Asaram in the court by evening. Though they had sought two days police remand, they were granted just a day’s custody.
Asaram too pleaded before the court for leniency on health grounds. He requested to be kept under observation at his ashram in Mania village near Jodhpur; his pleas, however, were rejected. Additionally, the court stated that Asaram should not be given any special treatment and should be treated like a regular prisoner.
“From the court, we took Asaram to Madai Ashram [where the alleged rape took place] and interrogated him. He will be quizzed thoroughly in police custody. We would present him in the court again on Monday,” said Chanchal Mishra, ACP, Jodhpur (West).
Later, he was again taken to Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC) Battalion Campus in Mandore where the commissioner of police and DCP grilled him for nearly two hours.
“There are still some issues that need to be worked out for a water-tight case against Asaram,” Jodhpur Police Commissioner Biju George Joseph said.
Asaram has been booked under sections 342, 376, 354A, 506, 509/34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Charges have also been framed against the septuagenarian under sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act and 8 POCSO Act.
During the day, Asaram was made to take two medical tests since he had earlier claimed of being “medically unfit” and thus missing the August 30 deadline set by Jodhpur police to appear before it. “There was nothing to suggest that he was unwell,” the police commissioner said, adding, “Doctors also carried out a potency test.”
Joseph also refuted reports of Asaram being on a fast. “He is taking food and water,” the police commissioner confirmed.
Earlier on Sunday, unprecedented security arrangements were made at the Delhi and Jodhpur airport as Asaram’s supporters shouted slogans in support of the godman.