Hot on the trail of Asaram Bapu, a Jodhpur Police team reached his Indore ashram on Saturday night to question the self-styled godman in the sexual assault case amid growing suspense whether or not he will be arrested.
Heavy police force was deployed at the ashram even as 72-year-old Asaram’s supporters protested the arrival of the Jodhpur police team prompting the religious preacher to ask them to stay calm.
TV footage showed an ambulance entering the ashram premises where hundreds of Asaram’s supporters were present and preparations being made to set up barricades.
There was no immediate official word as to whether the religious preacher was questioned after the Jodhpur police team reached his ashram armed with a report from doctors of Indore Medical College that he was medically fit to be interrogated.
A lawyer for Asaram on Saturday night, however, said the Bapu was resting and nothing is going to happen tonight. “Whatever has to happen will take place only on Sunday,” Ishkaran Bhandari told media persons. He did not elaborate but said Bapu was not keeping well and that the police team was inside the ashram premises.
The police move for questioning came even as supporters of Asaram allegedly attacked a TV reporter and a cameraman at his Jodhpur ashram leaving them injured. Police said 13 people including a woman have been arrested in the attack which was condemned by the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA).
As soon as the police team reached the ashram and met its personnel, it was told that Asaram was presiding over a congregation and that it will have to wait for some time.
Jodhpur DCP Ajay Lamba said his team will arrest Asaram if it is not satisfied with his defence against the allegations of sexual assault leveled by a 16-year-old girl, an inmate of his Jodhpur ashram.
“We have just got information that he (Asaram) is medically fit for interrogation. A Jodhpur police team will begin his questioning in the next few hours after it goes to the Indore Ashram,” Jodhpur DCP Ajay Lamba told reporters in Jodhpur this evening.
“If we are not satisfied with the defence offered by Asaram we will arrest him,” Lamba said after it initially appeared that the police was clueless about the whereabouts of the controversial self-styled godman.
The speculation about Asaram’s whereabouts ended after Asaram’s son Narayan Sai claimed he is not evading the police and that he is recuperating at his ashram in Indore from illness.
Lamba said that the Jodhpur police got a fax from Indore ashram yesterday in which it was stated that Asaram had a “neurological problem” after he underwent a medical examination by doctors of Bhopal Medical College.
“We can give an official declaration of arrest only after communicating with Asaram Bapu,” Lamba added.