'Missing' woman in Asaram case will be traced: Guj Home Min

'Missing' woman in Asaram case will be traced: Guj Home Min

Two weeks after a 33-year-old married woman, who had filed a rape complaint against self- styled godman Asaram Bapu went missing, Gujarat government today said it will trace her and look into lapses on part of the policemen guarding her.

"The victim in the Asaram case went missing and I came to know that she was given police protection. Police has been probing the issue at present and we will trace her," Gujarat Home Minister Rajnikant Patel said.

"Even if she had gone to attend a family function (as claimed by her), the police escort should have accompanied her. We will probe this issue and take necessary action against the cops who failed in their duty," he said.

The Surat-based woman went missing along with her son and husband on December 14 after telling the cops protecting her that she was going to attend a family event.

It was only four days later that police realised she was not traceable and filed a 'missing persons' complaint on December 18.

Before disappearing, the woman had filed an application before a court seeking to change her statement in the case recorded before a Magistrate under CrPC Section 164 (under which a statement is treated as evidence).

But the Gandhinagar Court rejected the plea on December 22.
The woman's lawyer today said they are going to appeal against the Gandhinagar Court's order.

The counsel claimed he met her on December 17, a day before she was reported missing.
"She had filed an affidavit in the court (regarding her plea) on December 17 and I had met her then," Advocate Sumit Sikarwar said, adding, the victim was not present in the court when her application was rejected.

Asked whether the woman is missing or gone into hiding, Sikarwar evaded a direct reply.
"She is my client and I appear on behalf of her in courts and after that where she goes is not my look out," he said.

Sikarwar, however, declined to reply when asked if he is in touch with his client.
Surat Police, which had given protection to the woman, yesterday initiated an inquiry against its four Constables, who were part of the escort, for their alleged negligence.

Last year, the woman had filed a police complaint alleging that the religious preacher had sexually assaulted her several times between 1997 and 2006 during her stay at his ashram.

Her younger sister had filed a separate rape complaint against Asaram's son Narayan Sai.

Asaram is currently lodged in a Rajasthan jail in another rape case.

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