Asaram Bapu denied bail again
Asumal Sirumalani, better known as Asaram Bapu, was born In 1941 in Pakistan. He moved to Ahmedabad with his family after partition. After a humble beginning as a ‘tonga man’ ferrying people, he rose to own hundreds of ashrams, residential schools and lakhs of followers by the turn of the century.
Self-styled godman Asaram’s bail plea was rejected by the Supreme Court on Monday. He had asked for interim bail citing medical reasons and also filed a second plea for regular bail on the basis of his advanced age.
Arrested by the Rajasthan Police in August 2013, he has been in jail since. The 78-year-old Asaram is already undergoing specialist treatment and care under custody in a Jodhpur hospital for his prostate ailment as requested by him. The prosecution had earlier objected to the bail plea alleging that Asaram and his lawyers were trying to prolong the trial proceedings.
• Asaram was accused by a 16-year-old girl in 2013 of sexually assaulting her in his ashram in Jodhpur in August 2013. The parents of the girl, who were disciples of Asaram, filed a case with the police in Delhi few days later and medical examination of the victim confirmed the assault.
• Clashes broke out between police and Asaram’s followers in several places while he avoided arrest and remained holed up inside one of his ashrams. Jodhpur police on September 1, 2013 took him into custody from Indore. Several political leaders, including an MLA of the ruling BJP party in Madhya Pradesh from Indore came out in support of Asaram, but his arrest could not be averted.
• Dismissing the allegations against him, Asaram claimed he was impotent and incapable of sexually assaulting anyone. However, he eventually passed a potency test and his claim was rejected. He has been denied bail more than a dozen times.
• He is booked under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, IPC, and most importantly under Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) as well as the relevant provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.
• In an earlier case in 2008, the mutilated bodies of two children were recovered from the banks of the Sabarmati river in Gujarat close to his Ashram in Motera, with some vital organs missing. Gujarat police booked several of Asaram’s followers in the case.
• The family of the victim have on several occasions alleged in the media and in front of law officers that they have received threats from Asaram’s disciples who want them to retract their allegations.
• In April 2018, Asaram was pronounced guilty of rape charges and was awarded life imprisonment. The victim was to be paid a sum of Rs 5 lakh as fine. Two of Asaram’s associates were awarded 20 years jail in the case.
• In 2013, Asaram's son Narayan Sai was also arrested on charges of rape. Two Surat-based sisters alleged that Sai and Asaram had sexually assaulted them multiple times.
• Meanwhile, several attacks have been reported against witnesses in the Asaram and Narayan Sai case. Two former associates who turned witness against Asaram wre shot dead in May 2014.
• In April 2019, Asaram’s son Narayan Sai was convicted by a Surat Court and sentenced to life in the Surat rape case.