A key witness in the rape case against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu who was shot at by unidentified assailants in Shahjahanpur districts died of his injuries on Saturday night.
35-year-old Kripal Singh was shot at by two persons on a motorcycle in Puwayan area on Friday night when he was on his way home from the market.
He was rushed from Shahjahanpur to a private hospital in Bareilly after one of the bullets pierced his spinal chord.
Doctors at the Mission hospital operated on him for four hours to remove the bullet from his spinal chord, but could not save him.
“The bullet pierced his spinal chord and pellets injured his intestine. A team of doctors carried out surgery to remove the bullet and pellets from his intestine.
The surgery was very critical due to his injuries. We tried our best to save Kripal, but he succumbed to his bullet injuries at 10.30pm,” said hospital chairman Umesh Gautam.
Before escaping, the attackers had warned Singh against deposing against Asaram in the rape case. In a statement given to additional city magistrate, Singh alleged that people connected to Asaram were threatening him for the last few days.
Singh was an employee of a transport firm, whose owner's daughter had lodged a case against 74-year-old Asaram for allegedly sexually assaulting her at his ashram near Jodhpur in Rajasthan in 2013.
Singh was a key witness and his statement in the case against Asaram had been recorded some three months ago. Asaram reportedly admitted he met the girl at his ashram, but denied allegations of a sexual assault.
Asaram has been in a jail in Jodhpur since September 2013. Two months later he, along with his son Narayan Sai, were booked for the alleged rape of two sisters at their ashram in Gujarat's Surat.Singh is the third witness against Asharam who has been killed. So far there have been nine attacks.
In the last attack against Asaram's witness, his cook was shot dead in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh in January.