New Delhi : For the tenth time, the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an interim bail sought on medical grounds by the self-styled spiritual leader Asaram Bapu languishing in the judicial custody in the Jodhpur jail for almost past three years since his arrest from his Indore ashram on August 31, 2013 on the charge of alleged rape of a teenage girl in his Ashram near Jodhpur.
The only relief that the 75-year old so-called Godman, whose real name is Asumal Surumalani, got from the Apex Court was an order to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a 3-member medical board to examine his ailments and report back his health status within ten days. He had been examined by the AIIMS doctors earlier also on the Supreme Court’s directive.
Refusing to interfere with the Rajasthan High Court order rejecting his plea for bail, the Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and R K Agrawal did not accept his plea to release him on the interim bail for a month or two to enable him to travel to Kerala for the Panchkarma Ayurvedic treatment. The court had rejected his bail plea also last month when his aides petitioned claiming his health was deteriorating causing concern to all.
On August 9, Justice Nirmal Jeet Kaur of the Rajasthan High Court had rejected the bail plea on the ground that the trial in the case has already reached its fag end and hence not appropriate to grant the bail. She also rejected the defence claim that the trial had taken a lot of time affecting the Godman already in a frail health condition with multiple ailments. Senior Counsel Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Bapu, assailed the High Court for not taking into account his ailments. He has poor control over urination and passing of stools and the jail doctors have already reported that he often defecates in the bed itself, the counsel said.
Asaram has been charged with sexually assaulting the teenage girl from Shahjahanapur in Uttar Pradesh, who was a student in his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. Following her complaint, he was arrested by Jodhpur Police in August 2013 and he has been in jail since then.
Meanwhile, the police on Thursday sought further custody of his close aide Niraj Kumar for another two days in relation to the murder of a witness to the sexual assaults on the teenager by the Godman.