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SC refuses CBI probe into ashram deaths in Gujarat

Saturday, 10 November 2012 - 11:30am IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

2 kids died behind Asaram ashram in 2008.

In a major relief to religious leader Asaram Bapu and his son, Narayan Sai, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to hand over to the CBI the case of the two minor boys who died at Asaram Bapu’s ashram at Motera in 2008.

However, both Asaram and his son are likely to face cross-examination before the DK Trivedi commission which is investigating the tragic incident.

Narayan Sai has to appear before the commission on November 11 and Asaram Bapu on December 1 for cross-examination in the case. The fathers of the two deceased boys (cousins Dipesh and Abhishek) had demanded that the commission summon Asaram and his son for cross-examination. The commission has already summoned them but the father-son duo has not turned up so far.  The commission was about to issue a warrant against the duo when Sai informed the probe panel that he will appear before it on November 11.

“The commission was to issue a warrant against Asaram and Sai. However, as Sai has agreed to come, the commission did not issue a warrant but asked him to remain present before it on November 11,” said SH Aiyar, counsel appearing on behalf of the deceased boys’ family.  “The commission has also asked Asaram to remain present before it on December 1,” the lawyer added.

Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court, the bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam dismissed the petition filed by the family members of the two boys.   The family members had alleged that the ashram authorities were involved in the death of the two boys and that it was not possible for the Gujarat police to conduct a free and fair probe in the case.  After going through all the evidence, the bench said that there was no need for a CBI probe. The court, however, clarified that the trial court can order further probe if new facts come up.  The Apex Court thus dismissed the petition filed by the family members challenging the order of the Gujarat high court which had also refused to hand over the case to the CBI. The Supreme Court also upheld the high court order scrapping Section 304 of the IPC against Asaram.  Deepesh and Abhishek had gone missing from the ashram on July 3, 2008. Their bodies were found two days later on July 5, 2008 on the riverbank behind the ashram.

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