The Rajasthan High Court has summoned an IPS officer for recording his testimony after an appeal challenging the conviction of so-called godman Asaram Bapu in a rape case, claiming the victim was tutored.
A lower court had sentenced Asaram to life imprisonment in 2018 for the rape of a minor at a Jodhpur ashram in 2013.
Jaipur’s additional police commissioner, Ajay Pal Lamba, has now been asked to appear on March 7 as a witness in court, following the argument by Asaram’s lawyers that a video recording of him could have influence the young person’s testimony.
Asaram argued that the victim’s graphic description of the alleged crime scene – Asaram’s private quarters, the “kutia” – was influenced by a video recording of the location by the IPS officer when he was serving in Jodhpur.
The defense argued that they had no idea the music video existed until they found mention of it in Lamba’s book, “Gunning for the Godman: The true story behind Asaram Bapu’s conviction.” “.
In his book, DCP (West) Jodhpur said he filmed the crime scene on his mobile phone in case it was needed during the investigation.
Asaram’s lawyer argued that the girl did not give any description of the interior of the “kutia” in her handwritten complaint or in the statement recorded by the police on August 20, 2013.
“Lamba, visited the crime scene the next day, August 21, 2013, and undertook crime scene videography which was described at length in the book,” the petition reads.
This video had been shown to the victim and served as the basis for a graphic description of the crime scene by her, she claimed.
The petition argued that until the book was published, the defense had no idea about the video.
The petition said the prosecution’s entire case was “false and fabricated” and that the victim’s description of the crime scene in her statements was influenced by the video taken by Lamba.
The lawyer said the circumstances unequivocally support the defense’s claim that the victim never entered the ‘kutia’, as alleged in the FIR and in the girl’s later statements.
The attorney general, however, cited a disclaimer in Lamba’s book which indicated that parts of the story may have been dramatized.
The division bench of Judge Sandeep Mehta and Judge Rekha Borana said it would be premature to comment that the victim was instructed by a video to describe the scene of the crime.
But the court expressed dissatisfaction with the publication of the book while the case was still pending at the appeal stage and said it could be seen as an attempt to influence the legal process.
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