Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh on Tuesday said that Asaram Bapu, who was booked on charges of forcing a 16-year-old girl to take part in an act of unnatural sex at a Jodhpur ashram a week ago, should present himself before the Jodhpur police and help in the investigation and added that this is not the first time such allegations have been made against the self-styled godman,
“In any complaint by a woman or a girl, the onus of proving someone innocent, the burden of proof lies on the accused. So instead of running away from investigation, Asaram Bapu should present himself before the Jodhpur police and help in the investigation of the complain against him. This is not the first time such allegations are made against him,” he told media here today.
The Jodhpur Police had on Monday given a summons to the godman's representatives at his Ahmedabad ashram as Asaram's was not personally present there.
As per the summons issued on Monday, 72-year-old Asaram has to appear before the Jodhpur Police for questioning within four days.
The self-styled godman claimed on Sunday night that he was innocent and regards the minor as his "daughter". His spokesman has also denied the charges against him.
He has been booked under Sections 376, 342, 506 and 509 of the IPC, Section 8 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act.
Besides the summons served on Asaram Bapu, notices have also been issued to the manager of Chhindwara gurukul in Madhya Pradesh, hostel warden and the main caretaker of Asaram, who was present at Manai ashram in Jodhpur with him on August 15, when the alleged sexual assault took place there.
The girl was studying in Asaram's Chhindwara gurukul before she was sent to Jodhpur ashram, television reports said.
Asaram Bapu has also reportedly admitted that he met the girl, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, at his ashram in Jodhpur, but has denied her allegations of a sexual assault.