My father has been suffering a neurological disorder for past 13 years, says Asaram’s son

Jodhpur Police officials arrived, escorted by Indore Police, at the ashram of child-rape-accused Asumal Sirumalani alias Asaram Bapu in Indore late on Saturday. “Fourteen officers led by Additional SP Satish Jangid left Jodhpur by road last night and reached Indore in the afternoon... We have not taken a call on how he will be transported to Jodhpur, if need be,” Jodhpur’s Police Commissioner Biju Joseph told The Hindu over phone.

The self-styled godman had on Friday night left Bhopal after attending the funeral of a relative. He had been summoned to appear before the Jodhpur Police, who are investigating the allegations of rape made by a 16-year-old girl, before Saturday. Asaram, citing ill health, had disregarded the summons.

On Saturday afternoon, Asaram’s son Narayan Sai told reporters that his father had been suffering from a neurological disorder for the last 13 years and had high blood pressure. “The Jodhpur Police is welcome and they can question him anytime after his health improves... Bapu respects the court. He has cooperated and will continue to cooperate,” he said.

Mr. Sai expressed regret over the fracas at Bhopal airport, in which journalists were assaulted by Asaram’s supporters, on Friday. In Jodhpur too, IBN7 channel’s crew was attacked by Asaram’s devotees early on Saturday.

Mr. Sai’s press conference was held after senior Indore police and revenue officials reportedly spoke to him, following rumours that Asaram had fled at night towards Ratlam, where he has strong support. “There is no question of his going underground. He has been here at the ashram since last night. I appeal to all our devotees to maintain peace and show love. The press is referring to him [Asaram] as a rape accused. I can tell you 110 per cent than there was no rape,” asserted Mr. Sai.

At 9.10 p.m., Mr. Sai said his father was in a satsang preaching within the ashram.

Meanwhile, more than 400 Indore cops, some in riot gear, under the command of Inspector General Vipin Maheshwari have been stationed at the ashram. There are around 4,000 supporters inside. Physicians from Indore’s Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College examined Asaram and found him fit for questioning, police sources said. A source added that special branch sleuths had also penetrated the ashram.

Jodhpur (West) Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajaypal Lamba said, “If we need to transport him, we fill first have him examined by a doctor... The MP Police will ensure smooth transit to Rajasthan.”

A local BJP unit source said there was a national directive for leaders to tone down their support for Asaram.

Father sleeps at 9:30 p.m., so police may ask him a few basic questions: Narayan Sai

Special branch sleuths, over 400 Indore cops, 4,000 supporters are at the ashram