New Delhi, Dec 4: Ending his 58-day run from the law, controversial spiritual guru Asaram Bapu’s son Narayan Sai, accused in a rape case in Surat, was arrested late Tuesday night from Haryana. A Delhi court granted the the Gujarat Police a day’s transit remand to to produce him before a court in Surat.
Metropolitan Magistrate Dheeraj Mor granted the transit remand for Narayan Sai and two other accused, Kaushal Thakur alias Hanuman and driver Ramesh Malhotra. A court in Surat had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against Narayan Sai.
The court pulled up the Gujarat Police for not presenting proper documents and case files and asked it to submit scanned documents. The court noted that the Gujarat Police was not able to produce relevant documents related to the case on time.
Narayan Sai was on the run after a complaint was filed by a 30-year-old woman that he raped her between 2001 and 2005.
“Our team got a tip-off that Sai was on the move from Punjab to Haryana. The team laid a trap and he was arrested from Pipli village near Kurukshetra (in Haryana, 150 km from New Delhi),” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav told IANS in New Delhi.
Sai, 40, who had gone underground after two sisters from Surat filed rape complaints against his father and him. Both alleged they were raped by the duo during their stay in the ashram in the mid-2000s.
Sai’s father Asaram, 72, is in Jodhpur Central Jail for sexually assaulting a girl, 16, in his Jodhpur ashram of Rajasthan in August. Asaram also played a cat-and-mouse game with the police before he was arrested from Indore Sep 1.
Sai was wearing a red headgear, T-shirt, pant and a jacket to hide his identity when he was arrested.
Giving details of the arrest, Yadav said a Delhi Crime Branch team intercepted an SUV with an Uttar Pradesh registration number at a refuelling station near Kurukshetra.
Yadav said that the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch had deputed four teams to nab Narayan Sai following information that he could be in Punjab’s Ludhiana city, hiding in a cow-shed. The police team reached Ludhiana but failed to find Sai, who had left the place 30 minutes prior to their arrival.
“After chasing Sai over around 200 km, we nabbed him around 10.15 p.m. Tuesday along with his follower Hanuman, driver Ramesh and a juvenile near a petrol pump at Pipli village in Kurukshetra, Haryana,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Kumar Gyanesh told IANS.
Sai, who has been constantly on the move from one city to another, was in the vehicle along with devotee Hanuman, driver Ramesh and a juvenile. The juvenile has been let off while Hanuman and driver Ramesh have been arrested along with Narayan Sai.
Police said that Sai kept shifting his locations – from Agra (Uttar Pradesh), Thane (Maharastra), Hardwar (Uttarakhand) to places in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and other states during his nearly two-month run from law. The police had announced a reward of Rs 500,000 on information about Sai.
Addressing media in New Delhi, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) S.B.K. Singh said: “We have recovered Rs.261,000 from Narayan Sai, six mobile phones and Rs.13,500 from Hanuman.”
Gujarat Police told the court that Sai was trying to escape from the law.
Police said Sai and Hanuman were already mentioned in the complaint while during investigation it was revealed that Malhotra was sending girls to Sai. Police alleged that the three were equal participants in the criminal misconduct.
Sai’s counsel Pradeep Rana told the court that Sai was going to surrender before a court in Gujarat but police arrested him on a tip-off. He opposed the police’s plea and said that Sai will cooperate in the investigation. Another defence counsel, A.P. Singh said the case was politically motivated and was registered in a bid to malign the image of Hindu seers.