New Delhi: Janata Dal (United) leader Ali Anwar on Tuesday called spiritual leader Asaram Bapu a `cheater`, and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using self-styled godmen in the country to further their own political interests.
"I agree with him (Digvijay Singh).... When Sushma Swaraj was asking for death sentence in the rape case, then Sharad Yadav interrupted her in Parliament and asked her to talk on the allegations against Asaram Bapu also. This is the habit of the BJP. The BJP wrongly uses these thugs and frauds to awaken the sentiments of the religious people of the country in order to further their own politics," Anwar said.
"These people are thugs, they are frauds, and they are cheaters. ...If you look at the land and the money they have, (you will see that) they are operating in the greed of riches. Illegal money brings disease along with it," he added.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Wednesday rubbished Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh claim that the opposition is setting `double standards` for seeking rape punishment in the Asaram Bapu case, and reiterated their stance that the law will take its course to hand out justice.
"We don`t have any double standards. If somebody has done some crime, he must be dealt as per the laws. As the police investigation has just started, once it is very clear that something wrong has happened, the law must deal with it firmly. That is what our stand is in all cases, including this," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
Earlier today, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh used the micro-blogging website Twitter, to hit out at the BJP in connection with the allegations leveled against Asaram Bapu.
"Double standards of BJP on crime against women. Death penalty to others but pardon to fake God Men !" Singh tweeted this morning.
Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu on Tuesday defended himself in the alleged sexual abuse case, and claimed that it is a political conspiracy.
"It`s all a political conspiracy. I have faced many such dirty accusations in the past as well. There is no question of me taking anticipatory bail," he said.
According to reports, a Jodhpur Police team on Tuesday reached Asaram Bapu`s ashram in Indore to deliver summons to him in this case involving a minor.
The officials, who went to Asaram Bapu`s ashram to deliver the summons to him, asked him to appear before the Jodhpur police for questioning by August 30 in the case.
Moreover, 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.