In a major setback to Asaram Bapu, his follower and owner of the land on which the ashram (where the god-man allegedly raped the daughter of one of his disciples) stands, has told the police that both Asaram and the victim were present in the ashram on the day of the alleged crime.
Devra’s statement contradicts Bapu’s spokesperson who had claimed on Wednesday that the god-man was not in Jodhpur on August 15, the day he allegedly raped the minor.
There are other evidence also which have confirmed his presence at the Ashram. Asaram took an Air India flight in the afternoon of August 16, a day after the alleged crime was reported.
The Police are now preparing to interrogate Asaram at his ashram in Ahmedabad. “Soon, our team will interrogate Asaram,” Commissioner of Police, Biju George Joseph, said.
Police probing the allegations of sexual exploitation against Asaram Bapu have said that the statement of the girl who brought the charges against self-styled spiritual guru was corroborated by an examination of the evidence in the case.
“Prima facie, her statements and the scene of crime stand verified through physical inspection of the spot,” the police commissioner said. “The owner of the land on which the said ashram stands at Manai village has also confirmed the presence of the girl and her parents at the spot as mentioned by them in their statements,” he added.
Earlier, Asaram’s spokesperson had said that he had left Jodhpur after two days of meetings held on August 10 and 11. But Devra said Asaram was there till August 16 and that the girl was also present at the same time with her parents at the ashram.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said that he has directed commissioner of police to conduct a fair investigation and to take appropriate action on the basis of facts. He declined to comment on the incident till the investigation was completed, but appealed to the saints who court controversy that they should behave in such an way that no one can point finger at them.
But, Jain Saint Tarun Sagar was more critical of religious figures involved in such heinous crime. “Balatkari sant, Osama Bin Laden jaise aatankvadi se bhi zyada khatarnak hai. Laden toh kuch sekdo logo ka khun karta hai lekin durachari sant toh karoro logo ke vishwas ka khoon karta hai (Rapist Saint is more dangerous than terrorist like Osama Bin Laden.
While, Laden killed a few hundred people, rapist saint breach the trust of millions of people),” he said.
Chairperson of State Women Commission, Lad Kumari Jain has said that the victim has been saying that Asaram raped her so the commission would take cognizance of the matter. This is not a matter of rape of a girl but rape of entire society’s belief.