Controversial godman Asaram Bapu, presently in jail in Jodhpur for allegedly raping a teenager, faces fresh charges with a First Information Report (FIR) filed in Surat against him and son Narayan Sai on Sunday for sexual assault on two sisters.
The FIR, lodged by the sisters in Jehangirpura police station in Surat, alleged that they were raped between 2002 and 2004 in different ashrams of Asaram.
The elder among the two alleged that she was raped by Asaram at his Ahmedabad ashram while the younger one charged his son with sexually assaulting her at the Surat ashram.
The victims claimed that they were taken to different ashrams in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar and raped there as well.
Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana told reporters: “These are serious allegations and we have filed cases under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 376 [for rape]. We have also transferred the case that allegedly took place at the Ahmedabad ashram to the local police, while we are looking into the one at the Surat ashram.”
The complainants have also alleged that Asaram’s wife and daughter were well aware of the sexual assaults at the Ahmedabad ashram. When the police asked the sisters the reason for the delay in filing the FIRs, they said they were too scared to do so. “They mustered the courage to lodge a complaint only after the Jodhpur case and the subsequent arrest of Asaram,” Mr. Asthana said.
Ashram officials stoutly denied the allegations. “If the incidents happened between 2002 and 2004, why are they opening their mouth now? There is some conspiracy that is brewing,” said ashram’s public relations officer Neelam Dubey. “There have been such reports against Bapu since 2008. If they are actually rapists, how could Bapu have several hundred women followers” she asked.