Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Police should not come under pressure: Gehlot on Asaram case

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New Delhi: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday said police should not come under any pressure while conducting its probe into allegations of sexual assault against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu and strict action will be taken based on the outcome of the probe.

Gehlot, who met Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde here on Wednesday, said he briefed Shinde on the probe in the sexual assault case.

“Let me reiterate that police should not come under any pressure while conducting its investigation and it will not happen. Strict action will be taken based on the outcome of the probe,” he told reporters when asked when Asaram would be arrested.

Asaram Bapu is facing the charge of sexually assaulting a minor and a complaint has been lodged against him in Jodhpur. “I have already said no one is above law and law should take its own course,” Gehlot said, adding, a police team has gone to Indore in connection with the investigation and summons have been served against the godman.

The Chief Minister, however, said seers and saints should stay away from controversies as they are revered and respected in society and are connected with religious beliefs. “Saints should maintain sanctity in society so that there is no scope of raising finger of accusations against them. They are revered and respected and are connected with religious beliefs,” he said.

Gehlot accused BJP of adopting double standard on the case, saying it is defending Asaram on Wednesday even though it was the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat which had raided his premises first.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Wednesday took a dig at the BJP on the Asaram Bapu issue, accusing the opposition party of practicing double standards on crime against women.

“Double standards of BJP on crime against women. Death penalty to others but pardon to fake God Men,” he said on microblogging site Twitter without directly referring to Asaram Bapu. His remarks also came in the backdrop of the BJP raising a hue and cry in Parliament over rapes across the country.

Singh’s remarks came close on the heels of BJP leader Prabhat Jha defending Asaram Bapu, terming rape charges against him as a “Congress conspiracy”.

BJP leader Uma Bharati has also earlier defended Bapu. “Rape charge against Asaram Bapu is a well planned Congress conspiracy,” Jha had said yesterday and added that as “polls approach, Congress party gets upset and indulges in all sorts of political conspiracies against its opponent”.

Singh had said on Tuesday that Asaram Bapu, who was booked on charges of forcing a 16-year-old girl to take part in an act of unnatural sex at a Jodhpur ashram a week ago, should present himself before the Jodhpur Police and help in the investigation and added that this is not the first time that such allegations have been made against the self-styled godman.

“In any complaint by a woman or a girl, the onus of proving someone innocent, the burden of proof lies on the accused. So instead of running away from investigation, Asaram Bapu should present himself before the Jodhpur Police and help in the investigation of the complaint against him. This is not the first time that such allegations are made against him,” he had said.

As per the summons issued on Monday, 72-year-old Asaram has to appear before the Jodhpur Police for questioning within four days. Asaram has sought more time from Jodhpur Police for appearing before it in connection with sexual assault charges against him even as he dismissed the allegations as being “baseless”. (PTI)

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