| Asaram Bapu
Aug. 27: Jodhpur police today issued a lookout notice against godman Asaram Bapu in connection with the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl at his ashram to prevent him from leaving the country.
Jodhpur police commissioner Biju G. Joseph told The Telegraph: “The lookout notice has been issued to the Bureau of Immigration in Delhi, which has alerted airports and harbours across the country to keep a close watch on Asaram Bapu.”
He confirmed that the 72-year-old godman today personally received summons in Indore from Jodhpur police, whose team had to wait nearly eight hours to meet him, to appear for questioning in the Rajasthan town by Friday.
Asaram Bapu has sought more time from Jodhpur police for appearing before it.
Yesterday, a police team had visited Asaram’s main ashram in Ahmedabad with the summons but was told he was out of station.
The summons followed preliminary probe that revealed there was prima facie a case against Asaram. The ashram room where the alleged abuse occurred has been identified on the basis of details in the complaint lodged by the girl and her family and in a recce of the site during which the victim accompanied the police a few days ago.
Joseph said: “Asaram has said nothing contrary to his coming here by August 30. So we assume he would be here and would co-operate.”
The godman has been booked for raping the minor and other offences that include wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot denied allegations his administration was going soft on Asaram and said an impartial probe was on.
The girl and her parents met the godman on August 15 at his Jodhpur ashram after which he took the teenager — who some at the ashram claimed was possessed by evil spirits — into a room to examine her. Asaram is accused of assaulting her there and threatening her not to speak out.