Police begin probe in complaint against Asaram Bapu

Jaipur, Aug 22 (IANS) Investigators Thursday recorded statements of several people at spiritual leader Asaram Bapu's ashram in Rajasthan's Jodhpur over the complaint of sexual assault lodged against the godman by a 16-year-old girl, police said Thursday. Asaram Bapu has denied the allegation.

A girl had given a complaint in a police station in central Delhi Tuesday accusing the godman of sexually assaulting her, police said.

"After receiving the copy of the complaint from Delhi Police, we registered a first information report (FIR) against Asaram Bapu at a police station in Jodhpur," a police officer told IANS.

"He has been booked under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code," a police officer told IANS.

The officer said that statements of several people at the ashram were recorded.

"We are verifying whether the girl and her parents were at the ashram Aug 15 when the girl says she was sexually assaulted," said the officer.

Some followers of the spiritual leader gathered at the office of the Jodhpur police commissioner and said the allegation of sexual assault was a conspiracy.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told media persons here that the investigation will be based on "facts and truth".

"I have spoken to the Jodhpur police commissioner and asked him to investigate the case at every level, and ensure action based on truth and facts," said Gehlot.

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