Police may take Asaram to Jodhpur ashram

Jaipur, Sep 2 (IANS) Police may Monday take spiritual guru Asaram Bapu to his ashram near Rajasthan's Jodhpur city where a 16-year-old girl is alleged to have been sexually assaulted, an official said.

The girl lodged a police complaint Aug 20, accusing the 72-year-old Asaram of sexually assaulting her at his ashram. Asaram has denied the charge, and his son has claimed that the girl was "mentally unstable".

Asaram will also be presented in a court in Jodhpur Monday. He was Sunday questioned at a guest house of the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary, police sources told IANS.

"We have also been quizzing him this (Monday) morning. Asaram is cooperating in the investigation," the sources said.

Asaram was taken on a one-day police remand Sunday after being flown to Jodhpur. He was arrested past midnight Saturday from his ashram in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

"He will be produced in a court later in the day today (Monday), but before that we may again take him to his ashram, 35 km from Jodhpur, where the crime is alleged to have been committed," the official said.

The guru was taken to his ashram Sunday evening for recreating the alleged crime scene. The exercise lasted around 20 minutes, a source said.

Asaram Sunday claimed innocence before investigators and denied the allegation of sexual assault levelled against him by the girl.

"Asaram denied the charges and said he was innocent," Jodhpur Police Commissioner Biju George Joseph told reporters in Jodhpur city, over 350 km from here.

The police chief said Asaram underwent a medical examination and the doctors declared he was fine.

Asaram has been booked under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The girl, who studied at Asaram's ashram in Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara and stayed in a girls' hostel there, alleged that the guru sexually assaulted her on the pretext of exorcism.

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