In a 1,300-page chargesheet, the Jodhpur police Wednesday drew out the sequence of events that led to the alleged sexual assault of a minor by self-styled spiritual guru Asaram and charged him with rape, illegal detention, trafficking, criminal intimidation. The chargesheet names Asaram and four of his aides, who according to investigators, were involved in a premeditated plan to reach the 16-year-old schoolgirl to Asaram at the Manai ashram in Jodhpur on August 14 and 15.
Sharad Chandra, hostel director of the Chhindwara gurukul in Madhya Pradesh where the minor studied, warden Shilpi Gupta and two of Asaram’s attendants Shiva and Prakash have been named in the chargesheet as co-accused in the case and have been slapped charges under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The chargesheet is supported by statements of over 120 witnesses, detailed call records of the minor’s family with Asaram’s aides and calls made among themselves to plot the girl’s journey to Manai ashram where the alleged sexual assault took place on August 15. The investigating team claimed that it could prove that the minor was the target of a premeditated plan to reach her to Asaram. It was found that despite repeated complaints of headache and nausea from the minor on July 27 and 28, she was not taken to a professional doctor and instead suggested to ‘stay clean and meditate’. Three days later she was sent for a general eye check-up along with 10 other students at the Chhindwara gurukul. A few days later when she yet again complained of nausea, she was made to chant incantations all through the night.
The chargesheet says the girl’s family was later told that Asaram was informed of her ‘condition’ and had called for her. Shilpi and Sharad told the girl’s parents that they would have to take the girl wherever Asaram was for an ‘exorcism ritual’ as she was possessed by evil spirits. The family first went to Rajokri in Delhi but could not meet Asaram there, so they were asked to reach Jodhpur. On reaching Jodhpur on August 14 afternoon, they were asked to participate in a satsang and later Asaram’s aides gave the family a tour of his kutiya (meditation hut) in Manai ashram. It was here that efforts were made for the first time to convince the girl to ‘submit herself’ to Asaram, the chargesheet says.
The following day a