A 33-year-old married woman, who had filed a case of sexual assault against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, is mysteriously missing for over a week along with her son and husband, police said today.
“A victim of rape, who had accused Asaram of sexual assault, went missing along with her son and husband more than a week ago,” Sub-Inspector N.M. Ahir of Kamrej Police Station in Surat city told PTI over phone.
“Police department had provided four Constables to the victim for her protection. On December 14, the victim informed our personnel that her family members were going to attend a marriage in Amroli area in the city where they did not require police protection,” he said.
The Constables remained posted outside her home but neither the woman nor her son or husband returned.
This led police to file a missing complaint on December 18, Mr. Ahir said.
Police later found that there was no marriage in the victim’s social circuit in Amroli on that day.
Their cellphones are switched-off, making it difficult to trace them, the Sub-Inspector said.
A probe is underway to locate them, he added.
Before disappearing, the Surat-based woman had filed an application in a court saying she wanted to change her statement recorded under Section 164 of CrPC in the case.
The statement recorded under the said Section is admissible at the stage of trial unlike the one recorded before police.
However, the court in Gandhinagar rejected her plea last Monday.
The women had last year filed a police complaint and accused Asaram Bapu of sexual assault between 1997 and 2006 when she was staying in his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
Her younger sister had filed a separate complaint against 76-year-old Asaram’s son Narayan Sai, accusing him of repeated sexual assault between 2002 and 2005 when she was living in his Surat ashram.
Gujarat Police filed a chargesheet against Asaram in January this year.
The religious preacher has been charged with rape, illegal confinement and criminal conspiracy.
He is lodged in a Rajasthan jail in another rape case.