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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

No defence: Asaram lawyer says 'girl has a disease'

Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, September 17, 2013
First Published: 13:22 IST(17/9/2013) | Last Updated: 22:24 IST(17/9/2013)

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, one of India's top legal minds, may need to defend himself against Twitter users who are criticising him for his controversial statement about a girl who has accused self-styled godman Asaram of sexual assault.

PTI reports Jethmalani, while arguing for Asaram's bail in the Rajasthan high court on Monday, said the girl was afflicted with a disease "which draws a woman to a man". He also claimed the police complaint filed against Asaram and age of the girl had been fabricated.

Reaction on social media was immediate and angry. "Ram Jethmalani is a vicious combination of Thakral of Meri Jung and Chadhdha of Damini," tweeted @indiantweeter, referring to much reviled lawyers of Bollywood cinema.

"Ram Jethmalani has a disease that attracts him to defending scumbags," tweeted @anupknair.

Jethmalani, 90, was called a lawyer for Mogambos, another infamous Bollywood movie villain, and much worse. People made fun of his age and competence in court. "Martians planted mind control chip in Asaram's brain, argues defence lawyer Ram Jethmalani," tweeted journalist Praveen Swami.
 
"Dear oh dear, Ram Jethmalani showing that even leading lawyers can be desperately out of form," tweeted cricket writer and analyst Harsha Bhogle.
 
"Girl has 'disease' that draws her to men.' Then men raped her to cure the disease?" tweeted writer Taslima Nasreen.
 
People compared Jethmalani to Delhi lawyer AP Singh, who had made a controversial statement about the December 16 Delhi gang-rape victim while defending convicts in the case. "If Delhi Bar Association can contemplate action on Singh post Dec 16 verdict, can't imagine y they shouldn't act on Jethmalani," said @Punditmusings.
 
A 16-year-old girl on August 20 had lodged a police complaint, accusing Asaram of sexually assaulting her at his ashram near Jodhpur.
 
Asaram was arrested from his ashram in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and brought to Jodhpur Sep 1.
 
Immediately after his arrest, Asaram filed an application for bail in the same court, which rejected the plea September 4. Asaram apparently hired Jethmalani after losing his bail plea before lower courts.


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