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Friday, 17 July 2015

Asaram witness murder: Kripal knew his assailants, gave names to police

Kripal Singh, the key witness in a rape case against Asaram, who was shot at in Sahajahanpur on July 10 and died a day later knew his assailants from the days he had spent at the self-proclaimed godman's ashrams in Uttar Pradesh.

In his dying declaration, Kripal had reportedly named three persons accusing them of attacking him. Probing into the murder case, the Shahjahanpur police have now got sketches of the three suspects made based on additional details provided by Asaram's followers at his ashrams in Shahjahanpur and state capital. The police teams are now visiting the ashrams in Jodhpur and other states looking for the these suspects.

According to the police, the three of them, including one identified as Raghav, were regular visitors at Asaram's ashram in Shahjahanpur and were known to Kripal who too had been the godman's follower earlier. Kripal, in his statement before death, had also said that days before he had to go to Jodhpur to appear in court as witness, these three had offered him a hefty amount of money asking him not to record his statement in the rape case.

The alleged rape victim's father, who too was a follower of Asaram, also claimed to have met the three suspects.

"I have come to know that Kripal Singh had taken names of some persons in his dying statement. A few days ago, police had called me and showed me a video clip relating to one of Asaram's ashrams asking to identify the suspects. They have asked me not to discuss the identity of these persons," the victim's father told The Indian Express.

He, however, added that it will be a big task tracing the suspects as they used to stay at different ashrams. In all, there are 450 ashrams of Asaram in the country. A police official confirmed that they "don't have much information about the three suspects except that they are followers of Asaram and were regular visitors" at the ashram in Shahjahanpur.

"Kripal Singh knew them well. He used to meet them at the ashram," the official said.

On Sunday, Shahjahanpur police had searched Asaram's ashram at Krishna Nagar locality in Lucknow, but failed to find any of the suspects there. Kripal Singh, who had recorded his statement in the rape case against Asaram, was shot at on July 10 and died a day later at a hospital in Bareilly.

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