Self-styled godman Asaram's public relations officer Neelam Dubey on Sunday flayed journalists for running a "media trial" on him. She also questioned the motive behind the "delay" in filing a fresh case of sexual assault against the controversial man.
Asaram, who is in jail for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl in his Jodhpur ashram, is in the middle of yet another controversy with a fresh case of sexual assault registered against him in Surat, the NDTV reported on Sunday.
Two sisters from Surat have reportedly filed a rape case against the self-styled godman and his son Narayan Sai, alleging sexual assault between 2002 and 2004.
"I was watching the television and understand that this is a 2002 and 2004 matter. If the incidents happened in 2002 and 2004, then why did they wait this long to come forward? And if they are coming forward now, then why are they doing so?" Dubey questioned.
"Secondly, the media is saying that they (the sisters) were scared and didn't come out in open. My question is, if this is true, how are they not scared now, what happened to their fear? The media had turned against Bapu in 2008 as well. They could have come forward then, but didn't," Dubey added.
Castigating the media, Dubey alleged that "journalists were taking all pillars of democracy in their own hands which has blurred the lines between the keepers of law and order in the country".
"The media is helping them (the sisters who lodged a complaint against Asaram and his son), right? So, now it is the media who will decide how the country is going to run, it will decide how the law works, it will decide what the judge, police and even the prime minister have to do. Then what is the need for elections? Let the media sit in office. The media has turned itself into police in the case. I am not blaming anyone, but even the police don't investigate as much as the media does. That's all I am saying, and this is the truth," she said.
Blaming the media for Asaram's unfair portrayal, Dubey also said: "If Bapu and Narayan Sai are rapists, why do they have so many female followers? They, obviously, will not be followers without reason, right?"
She also added that Asaram's followers have given the authorities their full support so that the truth prevails.
On September 1, Asaram was arrested on allegations of sexually assaulting a minor at his ashram in Jodhpur and is in jail at present.
He has been booked under sections 376, 342, 506 and 509 of the IPC, Section 8 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) and Sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act.
Besides the summons served on Asaram, notices have also been issued to the manager of the Chhindwara gurukul in Madhya Pradesh, the hostel warden and the main caretaker of Asaram, who was present at Manai Ashram in Jodhpur on August 15, when the alleged sexual assault took place there.
On Monday, a court had extended Asaram's judicial custody till October 11.