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Top cop who led probe in Asaram rape case received 2,000 threat letters, phone calls

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Jodhpur:Senior police officer Ajay Pal Lamba received more than 2,000 threatening letters and hundreds of phone calls while he was overseeing the investigation in the rape case against self-styled godman Asaram.
A special court in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur convicted Asaram of raping a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram in 2013. Asaram faces at least 10 years in jail; under the charges, he could be sentenced to life imprisonment. The quantum of sentence is yet to be pronounced.
Lamba says he was handed over the most high profile case of his career on August 20, 2013, that entailed relentless media spotlight, killing of witnesses and the most disturbing of all – the threats to policemen by Asaram’s followers. He was the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Jodhpur West, then.
“The letters carried abuses and threatened they would kill my family if anything happened to Asaram. My phone would not stop ringing and I stopped receiving calls from unknown numbers. The letters stopped only when I shifted to Udaipur,” says Lamba, a 2005 batch Indian Police Service officer.
Lamba, now the superintendent of police (anti-corruption bureau) in Jodhpur, stopped sending his daughter to school for a while and his wife would not step out of their house.
He adds that one of the accused, arrested for killing a witness in the case, confessed that his next target was Chanchal Mishra, the then deputy superintendent of police with Jodhpur Police and investigating officer in the case.
The victim was 16 when she was raped by Asaram at his ashram in Jodhpur in August 2013. Her family filed a complaint in Delhi on August 20, 2013, after which Asaram was charged with rape, wrongful confinement, sexual harassment, trafficking, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy. The case was transferred to Jodhpur.
The investigating team, he says, filed its first chargesheet in the Asaram rape case in a little over 10 weeks.
“There was no political pressure of any kind but I felt that the longer the investigation is delayed, the more it tangles up,” Lamba says.
In addition, the tricky part was picking up Asaram from his ashram in Indore as well as ensuring his supporters don’t create a law and order situation in Jodhpur and establishing evidence against him as the first information report was lodged five days after the incident.
Asaram failed to appear before the team of policemen from Jodhpur and his arrest was a monumental task for the department.
“When my 11-member team went to deliver a summon notice to the Asaram at his ashram in Madhya Pradesh, they faced a mob of about 8,000 people. My team was shoved and it took them 10 hours just to be able to deliver that piece of paper,” Lamba says.
Lamba says the media coverage dampened the morale of the supporters to an extent and the local police managed to take control of the situation in Indore. The police team from Jodhpur entered the ashram on August 30, 2013, to arrest him.
The 79-year-old Asaram was also booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. He has been in the Jodhpur Central Jail for the last 56 months.
“He requested that he be taken by flight and the police agreed. During the night, he was talking to his kids in Sindhi and asked them to amass 25,000 of his supporters by morning. ‘I’ll see how they’ll take me then’, he said on the phone. One of my men understood Sindhi and his plan was foiled,” Lamba says.
Asaram was brought to Jodhpur and put in a government guest house.
“When I entered the room, he was sitting on a sofa. I told him to get off and sit on the floor. The very moment he confessed that he made a mistake,” Lamba says.
Multiple testimonies, the victim’s statement and Asaram’s potency test helped the team frame a watertight case, which Lamba believes resulted in Asaram’s conviction.
Calling the conviction “historic”, Lamba says the court’s decision shows that “truth has won”.
“It shows that if the law works impartially, even persons from the weakest sections of the society can take on the most influential ones and get justice,” he says.


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JD(S) will support Congress in stopping BJP from coming back to power: Deve Gowda

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New Delhi:The former prime minister said that the results of Lok Sabha poll will be declared on May 23 and a clear picture will emerge before the entire country on that day.
Former prime minister and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda on Saturday said that his party is standing firmly with Congress and he will not like to speak more this matter. Gowda said that the results of Lok Sabha poll will be declared on May 23 and a clear picture will emerge before the entire country on that day.
“We are with Congress, I don’t want to speak anything more. On 23rd results will come, clear picture will be known to the entire country & what further development takes place,” the JD(S) chief was quoted as saying by ANI.
JD(S) Chief and Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda: We are with Congress, I don’t want to speak anything more. On 23rd results will come, clear picture will be known to the entire country & what further development takes place. pic.twitter.com/sxbgQXwV2D
The former prime minister made the remarks after offering prayers at Lord Venkateshwara temple on the occasion of his birthday. Gowda was accompanied by his family members, including Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. The JD(S) supremo stressed that since his party is the coalition partner of the Congress in Karnataka and they have contested the Lok Sabha poll in alliance, his party would support the Congress in order to keep BJP away from power.
On the news that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had called a meeting of non-NDA party leaders on May 23, Gowda remarked that he has not received any invite from Sonia Gandhi yet but he would be happy to attend the meeting. He added that by calling the meeting, Sonia Gnadhi is showing her “political maturity”.
The JD(S) chief also said that it is impossible for regional parties to form a government at the Centre without Congress’ support. He added that many leaders want to become the PM and it is necessary that different parties need a consensus over the prime minister’s name.
Meanwhile, talking to media, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswsamy said that Congress and JD(S) alliance has performed well in the Lok Sabha election and the alliance would win at least 18-19 Lok Sabha seats out of total 28 from Karnataka. He added that JD(S)’ support to Congress will continue both at state as well as national level.

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Akhilesh tears into PM Modi’s press conference, calls it last episode of ‘Mann ki Baat’ on TV

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NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden press conference, saying the media interaction looked “like last episode of ‘Mann ki Baat’ of the prime minister and the only difference was it was aired on TV and not on radio.
“Development is asking have you seen the first press conference of Pradhan ji. Seems like the last episode of Mann ki Baat has been aired on TV instead of radio. Media persons did not get to ask their questions and the disciplined soldiers remained silent,” tweeted the SP chief.
Loktantrik Janata Dal party chief Sharad Yadav also hit out at PM Modi, saying the press conference was the farewell press conference of the BJP. Yadav added that the prime minister remained at the helm of affairs for five years and yet he is not able to face media.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that PM Modi’s body language at the press conference showed that he had accepted defeat in Lok Sabha poll. “Today, the whole country saw Modi ji`s body language at the press conference. The world has seen that Modi ji has accepted defeat and he presented himself in the same way in front of the media. He did not answer any question. No one can ask him a question,” tweeted Gehlot.

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110 women candidates contesting Lok Sabha election declared criminal cases, 255 are crorepatis: ADR

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Mumbai :One hundred and ten women candidates contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha election have declared criminal cases against themselves including those relating to murder and rape among other serious offences.
The data is based on a report by the National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in which the affidavits of 716 out of 724 women candidates were analysed. The affidavits of eight women candidates were not analysed due to unclear reports.
As per the report, 110 women candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, 78 have declared serious criminal cases including cases related to rape, murder, attempt to murder, crimes against women and two are convicted criminals.
Four women candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section 302) while 16 have declared cases of attempt to murder (IPC Section-307).
Fourteen women candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women – causing miscarriage without a woman’s consent (IPC Section-313), assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty (IPC Section-354) and word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman (IPC Section-509).
Names of seven women candidates have come up in cases related to hate speech.
Partywise, 14 out of 54 women candidates are from Congress, 18 out of 53 are from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two out of 24 are from Bahujan Samajwadi Party, six out of 23 are from Trinamool Congress (TMC). 22 out of 222 Independent women candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Ten women candidates with serious criminal cases belong to the Congress party, 13 are from BJP, 2 from BSP, 4 out of 23 are from TMC and 21 are Independent women candidates.
Out of the 716 women candidates analysed, 255 are crorepatis. The average assets per women candidate contesting in the Lok Sabha election is Rs 5.63 crore.
BJP’s Hema Malini, DA Sathya Prabha from TDP and Harsimrat Kaur Badal from SAD are the three richest women candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha election.
Education details of women candidates: 232 of them have declared their educational qualification to be between 5th pass and 12th pass, 396 have declared having an educational qualification of graduate and above. 37 women candidates have declared themselves to be just literate and 26 women candidates are illiterates. Two candidates have not given their educational qualification details.
Age details of women candidates: 531 have declared their age to be between 25 and 50 years, 180 have declared their age to be between 51 and 80 years and one candidate has declared she is more than 80-years-old. While three women candidates have not disclosed their age details and one has declared her age to be below 25 years.

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