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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

I am being targeted, just like Buddha: Asaram Bapu

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  Ahmedabad/Jodhpur, August 23, 2013
First Published: 21:57 IST(23/8/2013) | Last Updated: 11:20 IST(24/8/2013)

Facing allegations of sexually assaulting a teenaged girl, controversial godman Asaram on Friday said he was a "victim of a motivated complaint".

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"I am 74-year-old and the girl is like my daughter. How can I think of doing anything to her? She has been misguided… and is being used to target me," he told a Gujarati channel.

On Tuesday, a 16-year-old girl student of his ashram at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh filed an FIR in Delhi alleging that she was sexually assaulted by Asaram at his Jodhpur Ashram on August 15.

The self-styled godman has faced such allegations in the past also. He attributed the latest charge to his fame.

"Whoever is famous is targeted. Even Lord Buddha had to face many allegations," he said, adding that the medical report of the girl did not mention rape or sexual assault.

But Jodhpur police commissioner Biju George Joseph said, "We have the medical report and it does not confirm rape but has sufficient evidence to prove sexual assault."

Besides, Joseph said investigations proved that Asaram was at his Jodhpur ashram on August 15, despite his spokesperson denying the same on Thursday. The police have also accessed the details of the Air India flight that Asaram took from Jodhpur to Delhi on August 16.

A team of Rajasthan police is expected in Ahmedabad to interrogate Asaram who is closeted at his ashram on the bank of Sabarmati. "We are verifying the facts given by the victim in her statements," said Joseph, adding, "Very soon a team will leave for Ahmedabad to interrogate Asaram".

"A team was dispatched to Chhindwara this morning to quiz the girls' hostel warden, where the victim was staying," Joseph told HT. He said the FIR also named warden Shilpa.

Meanwhile, the girl's brother, who also studies at the Chhindwara gurukul, was sent back home to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh. According to Madhya Pradesh police, the boy's parents feared for their son's life and had requested them to shift him.


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