Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in Jodhpur, was behind bars after he was remanded in 14-day judicial custody by a local court.
Wearing a white dhoti and kurta and a red skull cap, the controversial 72-year-old Asaram was produced amid tight security before the district and sessions court on Monday where the magistrate Manoj Kumar ordered to send him to judicial custody till 15th September.
The counsel for Asaram, meanwhile, moved an application for bail and hearing on the plea is expected on Tuesday.
Asaram was brought to the court in a police bus escorted by a police vehicle. He was remanded in one-day police custody on Sunday after being grilled for four hours.
The religious preacher remained in the court for about 15 minutes before he was taken to Central Jail of Jodhpur near Mohanpura bridge in a convoy of police vehicles after the court order. He was lodged in Barrack No.1.
During the hearing, defence counsel pleaded that proper medical attention and care be given for Asaram in the Jail. To this, the prosecution assured the court that all required assistance will be given.
Police said it did not seek extension of police remand as their course of initial investigation and questioning was over.
“Our investigation was complete so we did not seek for extension of the police custody. The accused has cooperated with us,” DCP Ajay Lamba told reporters after the hearing.
“Our case is very strong and we have vital evidences against the accused. We are moving in the right direction. We will file chargesheet in the case soon, he added.
After the hearing, some people who had gathered outside the court shouted slogans welcoming its order.
Asaram was arrested amid high drama on the intervening night of Saturday-Sunday in Indore and was brought to Jodhpur on Sunday for interrogation.
Asked about reports that Asaram was suffering from a neurological disorder, the DCP said, “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 OK. He is mentally and physically fit,” Lamba said, adding the accused is also taking food whenever served.
Asaram had on Sunday cleared a potency test conducted on him at the SN Medical college in Jodhpur.
He was also taken to his Manai Ashram, about 30 km from Jodhpur, where the girl was allegedly sexually assaulted.
Police had conducted a physical verification and tried to recreate the scene of crime.
Asaram’s arrest followed an FIR filed by the girl alleging she was sexually assaulted by him at his ashram. He has denied the charges.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that police had done their work impartially in the case.
“Police have done their work, now the matter is with the judiciary.
“I have been saying from the beginning that there is no interference from anyone in the investigation and that the guilty should be punished,” Gehlot told reporters on Monday.