Asaram Bapu, accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in his ashram, is said to have told police that “if a grandfather spends one-and-a-half hours alone with his granddaughter in a room and says something lovingly, it is not a crime”. But he denied all allegations of sexual assault.
The spiritual guru was Monday produced in court and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. His counsel has moved a bail application.
Asaram is learnt to have told investigators he had “expected Jodhpur Police to take care of him and handle the matter sensitively but was very disappointed with them”. He told them that like in the past when allegations were “sorted out amicably”, he had “expected that this too would pass”.
Asked why he had called the alleged victim to Jodhpur for “exorcism” and why he had taken her to his room late in the evening, Asaram reportedly got up from the chair, paced the floor and complained of a headache.
Investigators hope to get more evidence against Asaram from the three others accused in the case — the hostel manager, hostel warden and the attendant at the ashram. While the first two are absconding, attendant Shiva was arrested Monday. He allegedly escorted the victim to Asaram’s room.
Asaram was taken from the court to jail amid high security and lodged in a separate cell.
“We are headed in the right direction and hope to file a chargesheet soon,” said DCP Ajay Pal Lamba.
Asked about reports that Asaram was suffering from a neurological disorder, the DCP told PTI: “It has been proved to be a lie. His son can say what he wants to say. We can’t comment on anybody’s statement... A team of doctors said he is perfectly okay. He is mentally and physically fit.” Asaram had Sunday cleared a potency test.
Late Monday evening, about 1,000-odd followers of Asaram Bapu gathered outside the Central Jail. Police had to use mild force to disperse the crowd. Over 30 followers are reported to have been detained.