New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday modified the Gujarat High Court order granting interim bail to self styled godman Narayan Sai, who is in jail in connection with a rape case, saying he would be enlarged only after the date of operation of his mother is fixed.
The High Court, on April 16, had granted three weeks' interim bail to Sai, son of jailed self-styled godman Asaram, for attending the proposed surgery of his mother Lakshmiben for a cervical spinal chord ailment, at a hospital in Ahmedabad.
A bench of justices TS Thakur and R Banumathi, modifying the order of the High Court, said that the accused can be enlarged only after the "treating doctor" will fix the date of operation of his mother.
The order came on a fresh plea of Gujarat police seeking cancellation of interim bail, granted to Sai, on various grounds including that the accused may tamper with evidence in the case in which charges are yet to be framed.
"What are your apprehensions?," the bench asked.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state, said the followers of the accused who are "misinformed" may create problems for the police at the time of his surrender.
"The huge following is not a reason to deny bail to him," the bench said.
"One vital witness (of the case) has been eliminated. Three witnesses have been injured," the ASG said, adding that a woman IPS officer, probing the case, has been threatened.
Referring to bail conditions imposed by the High Court, the bench said, "he is literally under house arrest. The policemen will be around him all throughout."
It further said that the accused will be released one week before the doctor fixes the date of operation of his mother and he will have to surrender if the surgery gets postponed.
Sai is behind bars since December 2013 in the rape case filed by one of the two Surat-based sisters.
Two sisters from Surat had lodged two different rape complaints against Sai and his father Asaram respectively.
Lakshmiben was also booked in the alleged rape case filed against her husband Asaram by one of the sisters. Later, she was granted bail.
Sai was booked for offences of rape, unnatural sex, molestation, wrongful confinement, unlawful assembly, rioting armed with deadly weapon, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy.
It has been alleged in the complaint against Sai that he sexually assaulted her several times during 2002 and 2005 when she was living at the Surat ashram.