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Sexual assault case: Jodhpur police may seek Asaram's custody for 7 days

Sep 01, 2013 12:01 PM IST India India

Jodhpur: Jodhpur police is likely to seek the custody of self-styled godman Asaram for 7 days in the sexual assault case of a 15-year-old girl. According to sources, Asaram will be produced before a magistrate on Sunday.

Police sources said, "Asaram will be taken for investigation to an undisclosed location." Asaram will be taken to the scene of the crime for verification, they added.

Meanwhile, Asaram supporters have block local trains at Ulhasnagar station in Mumbai.

Asaram was finally arrested on Saturday midnight by Jodhpur police from his ashram in Indore, after evading and refusing to join investigation for days citing health reasons.

Security has been increased in Jodhpur to ensure Asaram supporters don't create problems.

"Asaram has reached Delhi and will reach Jodhpur post 12 noon. He will be further questioned there. Prima facie the charges seem to be correct. We will complete investigation as soon as possible and produce him in court," Jodhpur police DCP Ajay Pal Lamba said.

Earlier, around 50 Asaram supporters raised slogans in his support outside Delhi airport when the flight landed in the capital. Police presence was increased at the airport in view of the protests.

Asserting that Asaram will be punished if found guilty, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, "There will be a fair trial and if he is proven guilty he will face strong punishment. The police have brought him for interrogation. After this we will decide the future course of action.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Sunday accused the BJP of supporting Asaram. Hitting out at senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, Digvijaya asked why she was silent on rape allegations against Asaram when she has been vocal on the issue of atrocities on women. The senior Congress leader also condemned the attack on IBN7 journalists by Asaram supporters outside his Jodhpur ashram.

The deadline for Asaram to surrender in the sexual assault case ended on Friday. Asaram had been dodging the police, on health grounds and switching his base from Bhopal to Indore.

"Jodhpur police questioned Asaram at his ashram in Indore and then arrested him. They have brought him to the Indore airport and are scheduled to fly to New Delhi today. Members of Asaram's ashram did express opposition to his arrest, but the officers explained the situation to them, and were able to get Asaram to the airport without much problem," SP Indore (East) OP Tripathi said.

Earlier on Saturday, Jodhpur police DCP Ajaypal Lamba said that his team is in Indore and Asaram, who claimed through his son Narain Sai that he was suffering from a neurological disorder and hence could not join the investigation, was fit for interrogation and travel.

The events unfolded amidst high drama. Senior police officers reached the ashram at 3 pm on Saturday amid high security as Asaram's supporters numbering hundreds assembled around its compound. The Jodhpur police began interrogation of Asaram at around 9 pm and within 3 hours the deployment of the forces was also increased. Police arrested Asaram and whisked him in a white jeep about half an hour after the stroke of midnight, after waiting for nearly eight hours at the ashram.

As the vehicle carrying Asaram and Jodhpur police made its way out of the ashram in Indore, hundreds of his supporters, watched by posse of policemen, shouted slogans against the police and supporting the self-styled godman.

Strong contingents of police personnel were deployed at the ashram even as Asaram's supporters protested the arrival of the Jodhpur police team.

Meanwhile, the father of the minor girl ended his fast after the announcement of Asaram's arrest. But claimed that he will continue to fight the case until the self-styled godman was sentenced in the case. "He should be charged with the relevant sections as soon as possible so that the criminal proceedings can be initiated against him," said the girl's father.

He also claimed of threat calls from Asaram's supporters". My family is not safe. I am getting threat calls from his supporters. I will take this fight till the end. I will continue the fight for justice to my daughter," he said.