Muzaffarnagar: In a big setback to the investigations in Surat rape case against controversial 'godman' Asaram, Akhil Gupta, a witness in the case, was shot dead by unidentified persons in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar, reports said on Monday.
According to the police, the 35-year-old man was shot at when he was on his way to home on Sunday.
He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Gupta worked as a cook and personal aide of Asaram, who is in jail in connection with another case of sexual assault on a minor girl.
The Gujarat Police had recorded Gupta's statement in connection with the case in 2013. The Gujarat authorities had recorded the statement of Gupta, considered an important witness in the case, before a court in Gandhinagar.
Gupta had reportedly testified against the godman.
Meanwhile, three police teams have been formed to apprehend Gupta's killers.
Akhil's cousin Ashish Gupta has lodged an FIR against two unidentified persons, Senior Superintendent of Police HN Singh told PTI today.
Three teams led by SP, city, Sarvan Kumar have been formed to trace the accused, Singh said.
Police are investigating various angles including whether the murder was linked to Asaram's case or it was a fallout of old enmity, officials said.
Asaram and his son Narayan Sai face allegations of raping two Surat-based sisters.
The controversial godman was recently examined by a panel of doctors from AIIMS as per the directions of the apex court.
The panel mentioned in its report that Asaram was not suffering from any serious disease and his ailments can be treated by medicines, thereby scuttling his chances of getting bail on medical grounds.