Asaram Bapu has been in jail in Jodhpur since September, 2013. (File Photo)
The CBI has registered a case in connection with the alleged abduction of Rahul Sachan, a crucial prosecution witness in the rape cases against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, from Lucknow in November last year.
Mr Sachan, an Ayurvedic practitioner who was a given protection by Lucknow Police, went missing on November 25 from his residence in old Lucknow area.
He had claimed to be the personal assistant of Asumal Harpalani aka Asaram Bapu since 2009 to 2013.
"CBI has registered a case related to alleged kidnapping of Rahul Sachan, a resident of Balanganj, Lucknow on the orders of Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court and taken over investigation of the case which was earlier registered at Police Station Thakurganj, Lucknow," CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said.
The agency took over the probe on the direction of Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court on August 29, 2016 which underlined the "slipshod manner of investigation" while handing over the case to CBI.
Asaram Bapu has been in jail in Jodhpur since September, 2013.
He is facing trial in three criminal cases. A sessions court in Jodhpur is trying a case against Asaram on the charge of raping a 16-year-old girl, the daughter of a Shahjahanpur couple who had been his devotees for several years, in August 2013 in his Jodhpur ashram.
Another case is being tried by a Gandhinagar court which relates to allegations of rape between 2001 and 2006, levelled by a Surat-based woman against Asaram.
In yet another case, Asaram and his son Narayan Sai have been accused of rape on October 6, 2013 by two sisters also from Surat.
Nine witnesses in the case have been attacked so far and three of them have died.
A prime witness in the cases against Asaram, Kripal Singh, was shot dead in Shahjahanpur of Uttar Pradesh in July, 2015.
Before that, Amrut Prajapati, a former Asaram aide, was shot dead in June 2014 in Gujarat.
Another key witness, Akhil Kumar Gupta, who worked as a cook and personal aide of Asaram, was shot dead in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar in January.
"...it is not possible for us to gather as to the circumstances of the missing person conclusively, in as much as the missing person Rahul K Sachan may have been quite possibly a victim keeping in view the nature of the crime or alternatively he could have gone underground voluntarily which is yet a matter of investigation.
"But the fact remains that the flaw in the investigation is clearly reflected while interrogating the gunners and the security personnel who were provided as guards for the person of Rahul K Sachan...," the High Court had ordered while handing over probe to CBI.