Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Asaram case: Self-styled godman’s journey from puritanical preacher to rape convict // Asaram sentenced to life in prison for raping devotee // Police officer who led probe received 2,000 threats

Asaram case: Self-styled godman’s journey from puritanical preacher to rape convict
Asaram started his own ashram in Ahmedabad with just ten followers. Asaram’s next big stop was Surat, where he found a large number of followers among tribals. As his followers grew, he attracted politicians to his crowded satsangs or religious discourses. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party governments in the state gave Asaram land to expand his ashrams. His wife Lakshmi Devi, daughter and son Narayan Sai, who is in jail in a separate rape case, helped him manage the ashrams and other establishments.

Asaram’s troubles began in 2008 when the mutilated bodies of two cousins and gurukul mates Dipesh Vaghela (10) and Abhishek Vaghela (11) were found from the Sabarmati river bank near his ashram in Motera. Some vital organs were missing from the boys’ bodies. Shantilal Vaghela, Abhishek’s father, staged an indefinite fast accusing Asaram of killing the boys for black magic rituals. He ended his fast after the administration appointed an inquiry commission by retired judge DK Trivedi.
Gujarat police booked seven of Asaram’s followers in 2009 for the death of the two children and filed a chargesheet against them in September 2012. Asaram was not implicated in this case and the BJP government is yet to table the inquiry commission’s report. Asaram was also hit by a land-grabbing controversy in Surat. The matter is still sub-judice.
As he fell from grace, the BJP-led state government’s stance over his land holdings reflected its changing equation with him. The state government decided in 2009 to take back the land given to his Ahmedabad ashram. A year later, then revenue minister Anandiben Patel informed the state assembly that the nearly 68,000sqm plot had been taken back. Finally, Asaram was arrested after a 16-year-old girl accused him sexually assaulting her at a religious retreat near Jodhpur in August 2013. Two sisters from Surat came forward to register similar cases against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai just months later. The sisters, who lived at Asaram’s ashram in Gujarat between 1997 and 2006, lodged separate complaints against the godman and his son, accusing them of repeated rape and illegal confinement, among other charges. Five others, including Asaram’s wife and daughter, were also charged by the police of abetting the rapes.
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/asaram-bapu-s-journey-from-puritanical-preacher-to-rape-accused/story-SHD2znJNmH9Q1uMuNDz6mJ.html

Asaram not a rapist, he is protector of Sanatan Hindu dharma: former Gujarat DIG Vanzaara
Former Gujarat IPS officer DG Vanzara, a key accused in the alleged fake encounters of Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin Sheikh, on Wednesday came out in defence of Asaram Bapu.. More on Vanzara

Asaram sentenced to life in prison for raping devotee
Asaram Bapu, as he is known to his followers, has a large support base in Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat, where he has been booked in a similar case. Two Surat-based sisters, who stayed at Asaram’s ashram in Gujarat between 1997 and 2006, lodged separate cases against Asaram and his son, Narayan Sai, accusing them of repeated rape and illegal confinement, among other charges. As trials in these cases progressed, three key witnesses died and other witnesses and families of victims were attacked or received death threats. The truth has won. It shows that if the law works impartially, even persons from the weakest sections of the society can take on the most influential ones and get justice,” said Ajay Lamba, the IPS officer who supervised the investigation...
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/asaram-convicted-of-raping-minor-girl-at-his-jodhpur-ashram/story-7qtjtbp7QJJvj52nP3TD9O.html

Top cop who led probe in Asaram rape case received 2,000 threat letters, phone calls
Senior police officer Ajay Pal Lamba received more than 2,000 threatening letters and hundreds of phone calls while he was overseeing the investigation in the rape case against self-styled godman Asaram. “The letters carried abuses and threatened they would kill my family if anything happened to Asaram. My phone would not stop ringing and I stopped receiving calls from unknown numbers. The letters stopped only when I shifted to Udaipur,” says Lamba, a 2005 batch Indian Police Service officer. Lamba, now the superintendent of police (anti-corruption bureau) in Jodhpur, stopped sending his daughter to school for a while and his wife would not step out of their house.

Asaram failed to appear before the team of policemen from Jodhpur and his arrest was a monumental task for the department. “When my 11-member team went to deliver a summon notice to the Asaram at his ashram in Madhya Pradesh, they faced a mob of about 8,000 people. My team was shoved and it took them 10 hours just to be able to deliver that piece of paper,” Lamba says. Lamba says the media coverage dampened the morale of the supporters to an extent and the local police managed to take control of the situation in Indore. The police team from Jodhpur entered the ashram on August 30, 2013, to arrest him.
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/top-cop-probing-asaram-rape-case-received-2000-threat-letters-phone-calls/story-KgTGJQ97A75abXKBa0t08H.html

see also
The last five days of Asifa // Kathua, Unnao: Shame on us