New Delhi: Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav on Tuesday asked Parliament why the allegations against Asaram Bapu are being treated differently from the Mumbai gang-rape case of a 23-year-old photojournalist.
Yadav accused Bapu of being a fraud and of being involved with the land mafia. “I brought it up in Parliament and will say it again—what is the difference between what happened in Mumbai and this case? They’re both the same cases. Why does the government give more focus to Mumbai? It’s because it is a bigger city and this happened in a smaller place. The government should investigate and hand out punishment, equally,” Yadav said.
“He has been called. The lookout notice has also been issued against him. What he is saying, like previously, is all lies. He is part of the land mafia. Several people, connected with him, are involved in land scams. After the investigation is complete, whatever is correct should be done,” he added.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Jagdambika Pal also said that Asaram Bapu should be given harsh punishment, if proven guilty, but urged that investigations should be conducted thoroughly so that there are no gaps.
“If the police have got evidence against him, then certainly he must be given harsh punishment. … In society, he is considered to be a pious and religious man, his statements also said that she (the alleged victim) is like his granddaughter. On the other hand, these allegations have been put on him via an FIR. Thus, the police are presently taken precaution so that there are no mistakes in the investigation,” Pal said.
“The police are presently in the stage of confirming the allegations mounted again Asaram Bapu. Once, they gather sufficient evidence against him, then they will take action,” he added.
The Jodhpur Police had yesterday given summon to the godman’s representatives at his Ahmedabad ashram as Asaram`s wasn`t personally present there. As per the summon issued yesterday, 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 at his ashram in Jodhpur, but has denied her allegations of a sexual assault. The girl is from Uttar Pradesh.