Zee Media Bureau
Jodhpur: Arrested spiritual guru Asaram Bapu, facing allegations of sexual assault, claimed innocence after he cleared a potency test conducted on him at the SN Medical college here on late Sunday.
Doctors conducted the potency test on Asaram, as he had denied rape charges lodged against him by a 16-year-old school girl.
Few hours prior, a Rajasthan court had sent the self-styled godman to one-day police custody.
Asaram Bapu, 72, was arrested yesterday midnight in Madhya Pradesh in the sexual assault case lodged against him. A Rajasthan Police team flew the self-styled godman to Jodhpur city today afternoon after he failed to convince the cops with his arrugents regarding the case.
The spiritual guru was questioned by the Jodhpur police for about four hours and was later produced before District and Sessions Judge (Rural) Manoj K Vyas who remanded him to one-day police custody.
According to reports, the Jodhpur police took Asaram to the crime spot. Police said they are confident of proving the case as they have strong evidence against the accused.
Asaram will be taken to his Manai ashram, 30 km from Jodhpur, where the police will try to recreate the scene to verify the charge against him, Jodhpur Police Commissioner Biju George Joseph had told reporters here.
There are still some issues that need to be worked out for a "water-tight" case against Asaram, he said.
Joseph had said that a medical test would be carried out on Asaram and there was nothing to suggest that he was unwell. Asaram had claimed that he could not meet the deadline of August 30 given by the Jodhpur police to appear before it as his health condition had deteriorated.
He refuted reports that Asaram was on a hunger fast and refusing to eat or drink anything. "He is taking food and water," Joseph said.
Asaram was brought by Rajasthan police team led by Additional Commissioner of Police Satish Jnagid. They were flown via Delhi in an Air India flight at about 1230 hrs.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that no actor, politician or any other person was above law.
Earlier in the day, after coming out from the airport, Asaram moved into one of the seven luxury vehicles escorted by cops and was taken to Rajasthan Armed Constabulary Battalion Campus in Mandore where he was being interrogated, sources said.
Unprecedented security arrangements were made at the airport, where Asaram faced black flag protests, on the streets, outside and inside Asaram ashrams, and the Mahila Thana (women`s police station) where the case has been lodged.
The convoy was followed by seven buses with armed police personnel.
An Air India flight carrying Asaram from Indore left at 7.50 AM for New Delhi from where he boarded another flight for Jodhpur.
A team of doctors from Indore`s Medical College had earlier found him fit for questioning and travel, the sources said. Armed with the medical report, a team of Jodhpur police arrested Asaram and whisked him in a white jeep about half an hour after the stroke of midnight, after waiting for nearly eight hours at the ashram.
Meanwhile, the father of the girl called off his fast-unto-death in Shahajahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh soon after the arrest of the godman in Indore.
Circle Officer, City, Rajeswar Singh offered the girl`s father juice to end his fast that he began yesterday morning demanding immediate arrest of Asaram.
"The first hurdle has been overcome. We would take our fight forward," the father said after ending his fast after midnight.
The girl`s father thanked the media saying "the arrest has been made possible because of their efforts". A number of teachers, doctors, lawyers, traders and others also sat on a token hunger strike to show their solidarity.
After he ended his fast, the girl`s father was taken to his home amid heavy security.
Meanwhile, demonstrations against Asaram were held at different places, with protesters burning his effigy.On his arrival at airport here, scores of slogan shouting people showed black flags and displayed anti-Asaram posters in Ratanada area.
"It`s end of the road for you," they chanted.
The sexual assault case was filed by an inmate of his Chhindwara-based ashram in Madhya Pradesh.
The assault allegedly took place in Jodhpur following which a case was initially registered in Delhi and later transferred to Jodhpur for probe.
As the case took political overtones, Congress leader Digvijay Singh today attacked the BJP, questioning the "silence" of its leader Sushma Swaraj and asking why Narendra Modi has not taken action on the report of a judicial commission which probed the mysterious death of two boys at the godman`s Gujarat ashram.
Singh alleged that Asaram has been close to BJP "for a very long time" and accused the opposition party of double standards.
Reacting to it, Swaraj said the law will take its own course. "In our country we have a law that is same for everybody," she tweeted.
But Singh persisted with his charge, "This is very illustrative of the double standards of the BJP that they cry hoarse on issues where someone else is involved but where one of them is involved, they keep quiet."
He said, "If Narendra Modi wants that justice should be done, first of all the judicial commission report which is in closed cover with Gujarat on the issue of murder of two boys who were living in Asaram`s ashram, why is it not being made public.
"Why has be not taken action against the culprits," the Congress leader said, adding that several BJP leaders have been supporting Asaram and Uma Bharti "has been the first one to defend him."
With PTI inputs