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Asaram's Cook Second Witness to be Killed. Judge, Police Officer Got Death Threats

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Asaram's Cook Second Witness to be Killed. Judge, Police Officer Got Death Threats

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File photo of Asaram

Jaipur:  Akhil Gupta, the man killed in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday, was a key witness in one of the rape cases against religious leader Asaram Bapu. He was also the second witness in the case to be murdered. Six months ago, Amrut Prajapati, Asaram's one-time physician, was shot dead.

In Jodhpur, the trial judge in a case involving the molestation of a minor girl, allegedly by Asaram, received threat mails.

And last month, a police inspector in charge of Asaram's security during his court appearances was also sent a death threat through a cellphone text message.

Though Asaram is in a jail in Jodhpur - his bail application having been turned down by the Supreme Court - the families of his victims allege these threats and murders are no mere coincidence.

Gupta, who worked as Asaram's cook from 2001 to 2008, was a witness in the rape of two sisters from Surat. The sisters claimed they had been sexually assaulted by Asaram in 2001. The case was filed in October 2013.

In his statement to the police, Gupta said he had seen the one of the women along with Asaram's daughter Bharati and another aide, Trupti, go inside Shanti Vatika - Asaram's ashram at Motera on the outskirts of ahmedabad. She came out crying after a few hours, he said.

Gupta's testimony before a magistrate was recorded last year.

Gupta, 35, shot at while he was on his way home from work. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

The police say they have no evidence to link the murders to Asaram. But Prajapati's family refuses to accept it.

Last June, demanding that the case be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, his wife Saroj had said, "Everyone knows Asaram got my husband killed through his henchmen. The police are not going to do anything about it."

The families of the victims also point out how one of the sisters in Surat rape case recently wanted to amend her statement against Asaram. But the court had rejected her application, saying she could not retract a statement recorded before a magistrate.

The Ahmedabad police has so far refused to react to the allegations.


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