The Rajasthan police may take godman Asaram into custody at his Bhopal ashram if he doesn't appear before them by Friday (August 30) midnight in connection with a sexual assault case.
He has withdrawn the transit anticipatory bail application filed by him in the Gujarat high court. The application was withdrawn after the court indicated that it would not grant bail to Asaram.
His son Narayan Sai said he was ill and that's why his visit to Delhi on Thursday was cancelled. A vaidya from Pune has been called, he said and assured, "Bapuji will fully cooperate in the investigation."
A senior Jodhpur police official said, "We have already rejected Asaram's plea to provide some more time for interrogation. Till now, we have no communication about his arrival."
The police were ready to send a team headed by assistant commissioner to Bhopal, where he is putting up right now.
"The team will try to interrogate the godman there and will confirm about his ill health reported by media today," the official said and indicated that the police could bring him to Jodhpur after the interrogation.
Three teams have been formed. The first will leave for Bhopal and the movement of the remaining two teams would depend upon how the situation unfolds later, sources said.
Asaram had reached Bhopal on Thursday on hearing about the death of Devraj Krishnani, the father-in-law of his son Narayan Sai.
Earlier, Jodhpur police commissioner Biju George had said, "We will wait until August 30 as per the deadline of the summons served on him and if he fails to turn up, we will send a team to arrest him on August 31."
Asaram on Thursday questioned the minor victim's credibility and dragged Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi into the controversy, alleging the police have been acting at their behest.
The Congress rejected the allegation outright asking why should it bother to "conspire" against Asaram.
Reacting to Asaram's allegations directed at Sonia and Rahul, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said, "Why would the Congress bother to conspire against him? He has a huge following and is instigating people."
Senior Congress leader Karan Singh also took umbrage at Asaram's charge.
"A case has been filed against him so he is speaking like this," he said, and asked, "But how can one speak like this without any proof."
Asaram has been close to the Hindutva brigade and had managed to weather several controversies in the past, including cases of murder at his ashrams.
His personal charge against Sonia and Rahul, whom he had not named, is now being seen as an effort to politicise the issue.
"I don't want to blame any party but I have heard that police are acting at the behest of Madam and her son," Asaram said in Bhopal on Thursday. Asked if any political party was supporting him, he lost his temper.
Asaram said he had earlier decided to go to jail and stay there till he proved himself innocent. But he changed his mind after he came to know that the police were working at the behest of 'madam and her son. He said he feared being drugged in custody.
Asked if he was levelling charges against Sonia Gandhi, he said he was merely mentioning what he had heard.
Pointing fingers at the victim, he said, "I was told by other girls at Chhindwara gurukul that the girl had told her friends that she would not be back in the ashram and that she would earn fame nationwide. The allegation against me is a conspiracy."
"We are upset and it has already resulted in a death," he added. The death he referred to was that of the father-in-law of his son, who expired after a heart attack earlier in the day.
Asaram was on Tuesday served notice at his ashram in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, asking him to appear before police in Jodhpur for questioning before or on August 30.
The girl had made a complaint at a police station in Delhi August 20, accusing Asaram of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Rajasthan's Jodhpur city. The first information report (FIR) was registered against Asaram in Jodhpur after receiving a copy of the complaint from Delhi Police August 21.