August 29th, 2017
The Supreme Court on August 28 slammed the Gujarat government for delaying the trial of self-styled “godman” Asaram Bapu. The apex court asked the state counsel as to why has the rape survivor has not been examined yet.
The bench, comprising justices NV Ramanna and Amitava Roy, asked the state government to file an affidavit in this regard and posted the matter for further hearing after Diwali.
Similar intervention by SC
Back in April, a bench comprising of the then Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul directed the Gujarat government to hasten the hearings in the case.
“The trial court is directed to expedite the examination of witnesses as expeditiously as may be practically possible,” the bench had said.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government, had pointed out that 29 prosecution witnesses have already been examined and the statements of 46 witnesses are yet to be recorded.
The Supreme Court had previously rejected Asaram’s plea seeking bail on the grounds of poor health saying that Asaram had placed a “fictitious document” to persuade the court to grant him bail and had ordered registration of a FIR against those responsible for preparing and filing the alleged fake papers.
The spiritual guru had been accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old schoolgirl and was arrested by Jodhpur police on 31 August 2013 from Indore.
In spite of claims by his son, Narayan Sai, that the 72-year-old was ill-equipped for interrogation; the police had arrested him armed with a medical report that said he was in a medically sound state.
The followers had shown their support for their guru, and had even attacked media persons; 13 people were arrested about the attack.
Narayan Sai had also been arrested by the police on 3 December 2013 after a two-month long search by the police. The father-son duo had been booked in October for the alleged rape of two sisters from Surat in Gujarat.
The younger sister said that Narayan Sai had raped her repeatedly between 2002 and 2005 at Asaram’s ashram in Surat. Her older sister claimed that Asaram Bapu raped her between 1997 and 2006 while she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
It might be interesting to note that during the time Asaram Bapu and his son have been in jail, six witnesses related to the case have been attacked and two have died.
Also, in 2016, the Income Tax department in Surat had disclosed Rs 2,500 crore worth of unaccounted transactions of Asaram and his son Narayan Sai after they scanned 42 bags that were recovered last year in Ahmedabad. A fine of Rs 750 crore was imposed on them.
The Logical Indian community appreciates the Supreme Court’s gesture to hasten the trial against the spiritual leader. We sincerely hope that an unbiased investigation is carried out and that justice prevails.