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'Spiritual leader' Asaram Bapu booked for sexual assault of minor
Wednesday August 21, 2013 6:25 PM, IANS

Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu has been booked for sexual assault following a complaint from a minor girl, Delhi Police said Wednesday. An aide denied the allegation.

According to police, the 16-year-old submitted a complaint at the Kamala Market police station in central Delhi Tuesday evening.

"We registered the complaint. But the girl said the incident occurred in Rajasthan, so the case will be forwarded to Rajasthan," an officer told IANS.

The complainant said the assault took place Aug 15 at a Jodhpur ashram where the girl had gone for treatment, police said.

"The girl was studying in a gurukul run by (Asaram Bapu) in Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara district for five years. As she was not feeling well, the gurukul staff told her to visit Bapu (Asaram)," said the official.

A spokesman for the spiritual leader, who enjoys a wide following across the country and abroad, said this was an attempt to malign Asaram Bapu's image.

"The girl says the incident took place on Aug 15 at Jodhpur. But Asaram Bapu left Jodhpur on Aug 11," spokesman Sunil Wankhede told IANS on telephone from Ahmedabad. "So how could this be true?"

He added: "The girl registered the case in Delhi because Delhi is one place where police are bound to register an FIR of cases related to crime against women even without any investigation.

"We will take legal action against the girl."

The girl, a native of Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur district, visited Asaram Bapu along with her family.

Police said Asaram took the girl to a separate room on the pretext of treating her illness and sexually assaulted her.

Traumatised, the girl kept mum but finally broke down a couple of days later.

The livid family members decided to confront Asaram and reached Delhi's Ramlila Maidan Tuesday where he was giving a public sermon. But the family was not allowed to meet him and instead told to leave, said police.

The family then went to police.

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