Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu's deadline to appear before the Jodhpur Police over his alleged involvement in a case of sexual assault ends today. However, his lawyer claimed that the spiritual leader will not be able appear before authorities due to the death of a relative.
The Jodhpur Police are presently not treating Asaram's lawyers statement as an official communication.
The police has refused to grant Asaram an extension saying they will arrange for his arrest if he fails to appear before them by this evening.
“If Asaram does not turn up by then (the end of the deadline), we will arrange for his arrest and bring him here for interrogation,” a police official told PTI.
CNN-IBN reports that three police teams have been readied to be sent to Chindwara, Bhopal and Ahmedabad if the controversial godman fails to turn up.
Meanwhile, none of the three persons working for Asaram Bapu turned up for questioning before the Jodhpur Police on Thursday.
“We had asked them to appear before the investigating officer today and waited for them the entire day. But none of the trio appeared for the interrogation despite of their assurances,” a police official told PTI.
The three employees - Shilpi (the warden of the hostel at Gurukul), Keshav (attendant of Gurukul) and Shiva (sewadar of Asaram, who was with him at Manai ashram on the day of incident) - were served with summons asking them to appear before the investigating officer at Jodhpur on 29 August.
On Thursday, Asaram lost his cool with reporters when asked whether he enjoyed political protection.
"No political party is protecting me.. I'm ready to go to jail if guilty," he had said.
Asaram also hinted that the Congress could be behind the rape allegation against him.
"People have told me that all this has been at the behest of madam and her son," he said.
When asked if he was suggesting Congress President Sonia Gandhi was behind the allegation, Asaram immediately took back his statement and maintained there was no political party involved.
Two separate summons had been served by Jodhpur Police — one at his Ahmedabad ashram and the other to Asaram himself at his Indore ashram — asking him to appear before the investigating officer in Jodhpur by 30 August.
While receiving the summons, Asaram had told the team that he had various pre-decided religious fixtures lined up till 19 September, and would not be able to appear for interrogation till then.