Asaram Bapu will remain in jail for now.
The 72-year-old self-styled godman, accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in Jodhpur, was refused bail since two other accused in the case are still absconding, prosecution lawyer told reporters on Wednesday.
Asaram Bapu will now have to complete the remand period in jail unless he wishes to move to a higher court, which his counsel KK Menon said they would approach. “We would approach the higher judicial body,” Menon was quoted as saying outside the court premises in Jodhpur.
The bail plea rejection came with another development. “His associate Shiva has been remanded to three-day police custody,” DCP Jodhpur Ajay Pal Lamba told dna. Shiva is reported to have stood outside the room where Asaram allegedly assaulted the minor.
Lamba added that the interrogation of Asaram and Shiva had revealed some contradictory statements. “This has further strengthened the case,” Lamba added.
The police said Asaram had “lied” that his health was deteriorating, first to evade arrest, and then to request for bail. This was proved when doctors declared him physically and mentally fit after a series of medical tests conducted in Jodhpur. Additionally, he also cleared the potency test, which is a clear indication that he is capable of sexual assault.
The religious preacher, who was arrested amid high drama from his ashram in Indore after midnight on Saturday, has denied all allegations, albeit with different statements each time. Asaram had initially said that he has never met the girl alone and that he had met her and her family as part of a large gathering that came for his discourse.
However, he later agreed to having met the girl but said, “nothing is wrong if a grandfather spends some time with his granddaughter”.