The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail application of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
The court accepted the prosecution’s argument that the godman’s supporters were threatening the victim and her family and that he might try and tamper with evidence if released on bail.
The High Court’s order came a day after a Sessions Court in Jodhpur extended the judicial custody of the godman and his attendant Shiva till October 11.
After hearing the prosecution and the defence’s arguments for two hours in a packed courtroom, Justice Nirmaljeet Kaur said that this stage was not fit for granting the relief sought by Asaram.
Asaram’s counsel and senior Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani, appearing before the Bench for the third time, produced written arguments along with some affidavits, arguing that all the accused wanted in the case, except one, had been arrested and no recovery was pending from any of them.
Mr. Jethmalani contended that his 72-year-old client should be granted bail considering, inter alia, his age and the fact that the complainant was “mentally unstable” and there were serious doubts about the crime scene described by the prosecution.
He also raised doubts about the girl’s age and said she had made up the charges because she was stopped from making online friends during her stay in a boarding school run by Asaram’s ashram in Madhya Pradesh.