Asaram Bapu case: Gehlot meets Shinde, says saints should maintain sanctity

Asaram Bapu has been accused by a 16-year-old girl of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Rajasthan`s Jodhpur city.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: As Rajasthan government is being accused of being soft on Asaram Bapu, state Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Wednesday and apprised him about the sexual assault case levelled against the controversial godman.

Asaram Bapu has been accused by a 16-year-old girl of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Rajasthan`s Jodhpur city.

Gehlot met Shinde, after the Union Home Ministry had asked the governments of Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh to send reports on complaints of sexual offence allegedly committed by the self-styled godman.

In its advisory, the Home Ministry had asked the three state governments to send reports about the complaints registered against Asaram Bapu, status of the cases and findings of the investigations.

The Rajasthan CM told the mediapersons that nobody is above law, but refused to give a clear reply on the possibility of Asaram’s arrest.

"Let me reiterate that police should not come under any pressure while conducting its investigation and it will not happen. Strict action will be taken based on the outcome of the probe," Gehlot told reporters when asked when Asaram would be arrested.

"Saints should maintain sanctity in society so that there is no scope of raising fingers of accusations against them. They are revered and respected and are connected with religious beliefs," the Rajasthan CM said.

Meanwhile, Left party leader Brinda Karat today accused the Gehlot government of going soft on Asaram and said that by not taking action against the self-styled godman the state government is sending out a message that if one has clout he can get away by committing such acts.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Devinder Singh too was very critical of the godman and demanded immediate arrest of Asaram and his aide Neelam Dubey.

Earlier today, Janata Dal (United) leader Ali Anwar called spiritual leader Asaram Bapu a `cheater`, and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using self-styled godmen in the country to serve their own political interests.

The girl had made a complaint at a police station in Delhi on Aug 20, accusing Asaram Bapu of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Rajasthan`s Jodhpur city, police said.

A Jodhpur Police team yesterday delivered summons to Asaram in this case involving a minor and asked him to appear before the Jodhpur police for questioning by August 30.

Asaram Bapu`s aide Neelam Dubey has also defended him in this case of alleged sexual assault.

Asaram Bapu 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 16-year-old girl, who has accused the spiritual leader of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Jodhpur, hails from Uttar Pradesh.

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