Godman or criminal? Rape not the only charge against Asaram Bapu
The godman, who has had a string of controversies plague his reputation, has among other things been accused of land grabbing, culpable homicide and attempt to murder.
Self-styled spiritual guru Asaram Bapu sees himself in yet another controversy. A teen from Jodhpur in Rajasthan has accused the 72-year-old godman of sexually assaulting her at his ashram earlier this month.
The girl told her parents, staunch supporters of Bapu, about her ordeal on 17 August, according to a report on India Today. The parents approached the police two days later and they sent her to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital for a medical examination. The hospital confirmed that the girl was indeed sexually assaulted.
According to the report, the victim told police that the guru had summoned her saying he wanted to conduct a religious ceremony and then allegedly assaulted her sexually.
The self proclaimed godman has been named in a string of controversies including accusations of land grabbing, culpable homicide and attempt to murder. Below are some controversies he has been embroiled in:
December 2009: A complaint was filed against Asaram Bapu and two others for allegedly attempting to murder a former follower of the religious guru in Ahmedabad.
The FIR was lodged following an attack on Raju Chandak, who was shot at by two unknown persons in Ramnagar locality of Sabarmati on December 6 in 2009.
Chandak had made Asaram the prime accused alleging that it was on his insistence that the two men fired at him while he was returning home on a motorcycle.
March 2010: The Gujarat government authorities reclaimed 67,099 square metre land which was allegedly encroached upon by Asaram Bapu's Ashram in Ahmedabad.
September 2012: In September last year, the Gujarat CID filed a chargesheet against seven office-bearers at Asaram Bapu's ashram in connection with the mysterious death of two boys in the ashram in 2008.
Abhishek Vaghela (11) and his cousin Dipesh Vaghela (10) went missing from a residential school of the Asaram Bapu's Motrea Ashram in Ahmedabad in April 2008. Their decomposed bodies were later found from the banks of Sabarmati River near the Ashram.
The case was handed over to CID in 2008 following a public outcry over the issue, which after a year of probing had filed a complaint of culpable homicide and booked seven sadhaks of the ashram.
December 2012: Following the Delhi gangrape on December 16, Asaram Bapu said that the victim was also to be blamed for the incident and that she should have begged the culprits to stop.
"Only five-six people are not the culprits. The girl is as guilty as her rapists... She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop... This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don't think so," he had said.
January 2013: The self-styled spiritual leader ran into fresh trouble with the Serious Fraud Investigating Office
(SFIO) recommended his prosecution in a Rs 700-crore land grab case in Madhya Pradesh.
The case pertained to 200 acres of land in Ratlam. The land belonging to Jayant Vitamins Limited (JVL) is located on the Delhi-Pune freight corridor and was allegedly grabbed in 2000. Asaram's followers had been using it since then.
February 2013: In February this year, 24-year-old Rahul Pachouri, at Asaram's ashram in Jabalpur mysteriously died. His father says he was poisoned in the Ashram.
"A couple of times he told an acquaintance, Mr. Shukla, that someone tried to poison me... and will tell you his name," Pachouri's father told Times Now.
He told the TV channel that his son had said that he had some information about fake medicines being sold by the ashram.
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