Asaram Bapu, a controversial spiritual leader, has been denied permission to call a senior police officer as an additional witness in his rape case. The Supreme Court rejected the move, saying it was an attempt to reopen the whole case and give a second chance to key witnesses, including the survivor. The Rajasthan High Court is currently hearing Asaram’s appeal against his 2018 conviction under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, and the bench ordered that it be done quickly as he has been in detention for almost ten years.
The court’s decision was reached after the Rajasthan government appealed the High Court’s decision allowing Asaram to record the officer’s testimony in February 2022. The officer, Ajay Pal Lamba, wrote a book about the case which Asaram claimed was filmed a day before the police created the site plan, and he suspected that the victim might have been coached based on the footage.
The state argued that the book was a dramatised account and Lamba included a disclaimer to that effect. The Supreme Court overturned the High Court ruling after determining that it was based on “mere conjectures” and failed to recognise the purpose and scope of Section 391 of the CrPC.
In conclusion, Asaram Bapu’s request to call a senior police officer as an additional witness has been denied by the Supreme Court in India.