Three days after a court in Jodhpur permitted Gujarat Police to take custody of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, he was taken to Ahmedabad on Monday afternoon for interrogation in connection with sexual assault case lodged by two Surat-based sisters against him and his son.
72-year-old Asaram will be taken to Ahmedabad via Mumbai and questioned about the allegations of rape, sexual assault and illegal confinement between 2001-2006.
The District and Sessions Court had given permission to Gujarat Police to take custody of Mr. Asaram on Friday itself, but fearing a backlash by his followers, Gujarat Police had waited for orders from their seniors on taking him to Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad DCP Manoj Ninama arrived in Jodhpur on Sunday, with extra police force and took the decision on Mr. Asaram.
A police official said the delay in taking Mr. Asaram to Ahmedabad was a deliberate move.
“As in the case of Jodhpur, Gujarat Police wanted to gather adequate evidence against Asaram in the fresh case as the incident happened about 10 years back,” the official said.
He said right from verification of the scene of crime to collection of evidence, Gujarat Police had a tough challenge and they needed strong evidence to take Mr. Asaram into custody.
This was exactly the strategy adopted by the Jodhpur police, which took some time in arresting him and collecting evidence parallelly by sending police teams to Chhindwara, Shajahanpur and Ahmedabad, he said.
Mr. Asaram was arrested in August in Indore for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in Jodhpur.
Of the two Surat-based sisters, the elder sister has accused Mr. Asaram of repeated sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006, when she was living in his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city, while the younger one has accused Mr. Asaram’s son Sai of repeated sexual assaults between 2002 and 2005 when she was living in Mr. Asaram’s Surat ashram.