Jaipur, Sep 1: Arrested spiritual guru Asaram Bapu, facing allegations of sexual assault, was Sunday brought to Jodhpur town, where he was interrogated after being sent to a day’s police custody and taken to his ashram for recreating the “crime scene”, police said.
During the interrogation at the Police Lines, near Mandore in Jodhpur, the white-clad, bearded 72-year-old Asaram asserted he was innocent.
He will spend the night at the Police Lines itself, police sources told IANS.
“We had sought two days police custody, but the court has given us a day’s custody. We, after interrogating him, will again present him before the district and sessions judge here tomorrow (Monday) and, if need be, seek more custody,” said a police official in Jodhpur, 350 km from here.
The guru was also taken to his ashram, 35 km from Jodhpur, for recreating the alleged crime scene at around 6 p.m. The exercise lasted around 20 minutes, a source said.
Asaram Bapu claimed innocence before investigators and denied the allegation of sexual assault levelled against him by a minor girl, Jodhpur Police Commissioner Biju George Joseph told reporters. The incident had reportedly occurred Aug 15.
The police chief said Asaram had undergone a medical examination and the doctors had declared he was fine.
Joseph had said police would recreate the crime scene.
Sources in police also said that Asaram would undergo a potency test.
A Rajasthan Police team flew Asaram Bapu to Jodhpur city in the afternoon after arresting him past midnight Saturday from his ashram in Indore in Madhya Pradesh.
The spiritual guru was brought in a flight from Delhi where he was flown from Indore by a morning flight.
Security was stepped up in the Rajasthan town ahead of Asaram’s arrival.
The girl lodged a complaint Aug 20, accusing Asaram of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Jodhpur. Asaram has denied the charge, and his son has claimed the girl was “mentally unstable”.
Asaram has been booked under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Indian Penal Code.
According to the allegations of the girl, who studied at Asaram’s ashram in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara and stayed in a girls’ hostel there, the guru sexually assaulted her on the pretext of exorcism.
Earlier in the day, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Sunday said the law would take its own course in the case.
Talking to media persons in Jodhpur, Gehlot said that no actor, politician or any other person was above law.
“Let the law take its own course,” he said.
“Police should be allowed to do its job of unbiased investigation. We want that whoever is guilty should be punished,” said Gehlot.
The chief minister said police have made elaborate arrangement for maintaining law and order in Jodhpur.
Police Saturday arrested 13 followers of Asaram in Jodhpur for assaulting media persons covering developments in the sexual assault case.
In Delhi, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh Sunday again accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of adopting double standards on crimes against women and maintaining silence on the Asaram Bapu case.
He asked Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to make public the judicial commission report on murder of two boys, who were living in an ashram of Asaram Bapu in the state.
He also questioned why BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who was vocal on issue of crimes against women, was quiet on the minor girl’s allegation against the spiritual leader.
Asaram has blamed Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi for his legal tangles. The Congress has rubbished the allegation.