Asaram to stay in jail till Sept 30; girl 'mentally unsound', says Jethmalani

Asaram BapuAsaram Bapu at the district sessions court in Jodhpur Monday. PTI

Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani Monday argued for bail to spiritual guru Asaram Bapu accused of sexual assault alleging the complainant suffers from a "mental disorder". Asaram judicial custody was extended till September 30.

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Jethmalani said the alleged victim's age should have been confirmed with the municipal authorities in her hometown and not with Chhindwara gurukul where she studied. He insisted this would have proved she is not a minor and it was a matter of consent.

Jethmalani did not mention the exact "mental disorder" but said in that condition "one feels like meeting men alone".

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Jethmalani raised the earlier arguments of why the girl's mother and the attendant waiting outside Asaram's room could not hear her shouting for help if she was being sexually assaulted.

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Similar arguments had been placed in the lower court two weeks earlier by defence lawyer K K Manan while seeking bail for Asaram but that was turned down. Asaram had then instructed his lawyer to be changed.

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The next hearing will be on September 18. The Jodhpur police is in the process of preparing the chargesheet, which will have to be filed within 90 days of Asaram Bapu's arrest on August 30.

Police officials said they are now looking out for the other accused hostel warden Shilpi, and hostel manager Sharad at Chhindwara and Prakash, an aide of Asaram. They are expected to be arrested shortly.

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