JODHPUR: Controversial preacher Asaram Bapu, arrested from his Indore ashram for sexually assaulting the 16-year-old daughter of a follower by Jodhpur police, was on Sunday subjected to a “potency test”, which confirmed that the 72-year-old’s libido is active. He was made to take the test after he told cops that he was impotent and therefore incapable of committing the crime he was charged with.
The police said Asaram’s testing positive gives them strong “circumstantial medical evidence” against the self-claimed godman. Jodhpur commissioner of police Biju Gorge Joseph said a team of doctors was called to the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary headquarters where Asaram was questioned.
“A potency test was conducted on him, which confirmed that he was strong enough to commit the crime of sexual assault and rape on the 16-year-old girl,” said Joseph. Another senior police officer said this was “normal procedure”. Potency test proves in a rape case that the offender is capable of committing the crime, he said.
Asaram was questioned for four hours at RAC headquarters and then produced in a court that sent him to one-day police custody, said Joseph. Although the police had sought two-day police remand, the court of district and sessions judge Manoj Kumar Vyas allowed only one day.
From the court, Asaram was taken to his Manai Ashram, about 30 km from Jodhpur, where the girl was allegedly sexually assaulted. Police said they conducted a physical verification and tried to recreate the scene of crime. Citing security reasons, police kept journalists out of the precincts.
Asaram remained in the ashram for around 15 minutes and brought back to RAC headquarters for further questioning during the night. “We’ve done preliminary interrogation and shall verify few more facts. This will require more time, so we sought his police remand,” said Joseph, adding that Asaram hasn’t produced any concrete evidence in his defence.
Asaram’s counsel Jagmal Choudhary raised the questions on the viability of section 376 of IPC and argued in the court where police had filed remand application saying the section is not applicable and is motivated by an ill-will of the conspirators, who have implicated Asaram in this case.
Soon after Asaram was brought to Jodhpur by a flight from Delhi around 12.20 pm, the city witnessed people rising both in protest and in support of Asaram. While he was shown black flags by those demanding strict action against him, his supporters shouted slogans against the police calling it a conspiracy and blocked the road being used to transport Asaram.
A medical team from S N Medical College also examined his health. Joseph said that his health is fit and there is nothing which could prevent us from proceeding in our investigation.
Aug 15: A 16-year old girl alleges sexual assault by Asaram in Jodhpur
Aug 20: Girl’s parents lodge police complaint in Delhi
Aug 21: FIR registered in Jodhpur
Aug 27: Asaram served notice to appear before police for questioning on Aug 30
Aug 30: Asaram fails to turn up
Sept 1: Arrested from his Indore ashram