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A file photo of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu. Photo: Hindustan Times (Hindustan Times)
A file photo of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu. Photo: Hindustan Times
(Hindustan Times)

Jodhpur police seeks look-out notice against Asaram Bapu

Asaram asked to appear before the Jodhpur police for questioning within 4 days of getting the notice

Indore/Jodhpur: Jodhpur Police on Tuesday sought a look-out notice for Asaram Bapu to prevent him from fleeing the country even as the controversial self-styled godman received the summons personally in Indore for questioning in a sexual assault case.

As the chorus for strong action against 72-year-old Asaram grew louder, he received the summons at the Indore Ashram after the visiting two-member Jodhpur Police team was made to wait for nearly eight hours. He has been directed to appear before the Jodhpur police for questioning within four days of getting the notice.

“We have issued a request letter to joint director-immigration (in Bureau of Immigration in Delhi) seeking look-out notice against Asaram Bapu who has been summoned by Jodhpur police in connection with a sexual exploitation case lodged against him, DCP Ajay Lamba said in Jodhpur.

Lamba said his team had to wait for nearly 8 hours at Asaram’s ashram in Indore to meet him personally for delivering the notice for questioning in connection with the allegation of sexual assault levelled by a 16-year-old girl.

Asked what the police will do if the accused failed to appear within the given time-frame, the officer said, “we will later decide what step we have to take if Asaram does not come."

The team, which reached his ashram on Khandwa road on the outskirts of Indore at 8 am to serve the summons to Asaram, had to wait for several hours after being told by ashram functionaries he was meditating and cannot be disturbed.

“We have served the notice to Asaram for appearing before the police in the matter," sub-inspector (SI) Bhanwar Singh told reporters outside the ashram in Indore. Asaram has give his assurance that he will cooperate with the police in the matter, he said.

The summons were issued after initial investigations found there was prima facie a case against him which needs to be probed.

He has been booked under sections 376, 342, 506 and 509 of the IPC, section 8 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act in connection with the alleged assault.

Asaram again refuted all charges levelled against him in the sexual assault case and claimed he was being framed.

There is a conspiracy to defame me, he claimed while talking to reporters outside his ashram. He said the girl was forced to lodge a complaint against him.

Demanding strong action against Asaram, BSP supremo Mayawati said Rajasthan government “should not allow such people to go scot free".

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot rejected suggestions that Jodhpur police are going soft on Asaram and said an impartial probe into the allegation is on.

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