For the remainder of his life — Asumal Sirumalani Harpalani or ‘Asaram Bapu’ – will remain behind bars for sexually assaulting a minor follower of his cult. She was 16 at the time. In Asaram’s case, it wasn’t easy at all to led the investigation against a self-styled godman. But why was it so tough to not only levy charges against him, but also to procure justice? Let’s take a look at the ex-godman’s popularity first.
As his popularity in Ahmadabad grew along with his attendees to his ‘satsang‘ functions, so did his fortune and wealth. At his prime, the godman who is now 77, ran an empire which was worth thousands of crores of rupees, with over 400 ashrams in India and abroad.
However, his popularity hit a new low when two boys went missing from his ashram, only to be found in a mutilated state. Finally, the case which grabbed all the limelight towards his misdeeds was when in August 2013, a 16-year-old girl accused Asaram of sexual exploitation in his Jodhpur ashram.
And this case was led by the brave investigating officer Ajay Pal Lamba, a senior police officer in Rajasthan. It was his conviction which bore fruits and proved all the allegations against Asaram and his two associates.
It was the effort, diligence and hard work of officer Lamba, who hailed the final verdict of the court as Asaram was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Jodhpur Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Court, along with those two other associates to jail for 20 years.
IPS officer Ajay belongs to the 2005 batch. On August 20, 2013, he was appointed to take charge of the Asaram Bapu case, which was the most high-profile case in that time.
At the time he took charge, he was Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Jodhpur West. The teenage girl of Asaram Bapu’s Chindwara-based ashram had accused him of raping her near Jodhpur. Following her complaint, Lamba worked day and night on the case.
Five years since he started his high-profile case, on April 25, 2018, justice was finally delivered. This is the second case of a powerful spiritual leader being convicted of a sexual offence, in less than a year after Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim was accused of the same.
As one would expect in such a case, through these five years of being appointed, Ajay Pal had faced tremendous pressures on all fronts which he admitted himself. But, he carried on with his duty as a dedicated officer would do.
Asaram is also facing a rape case in Surat in which the Supreme Court had ordered five weeks time to the prosecution to complete the trial. Again, two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, accusing them of rape.
After the verdict came in favour of the officer, an elated Ajay Pal Lamba posted this heart-warming message on his Facebook page. Read the full post here:
Since this good news, he got flooded with congratulatory messages, as he deserves. Here are some of them:
We salute Mr Ajay Pal Lamba for doing his job best, despite facing extreme pressure and ensuring a meticulous investigation. India needs more officers like you!
What did you think of the court’s verdict on Asaram Bapu’s case? Tell us in the comments.