Monday, January 10, 2011

Ashram deaths: HC gives respite to sadhaks

Ahmedabad: In a big relief for Asaram ashram’s sadhaks, the Gujarat high court on Monday dropped Section 304 of IPC against them, which means that the seven office bearers booked for the death of two kids are exonerated from charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The high court, however, has lifted the stay from the probe asking CID (crime) to go ahead with probing charges of causing death by negligence and for allegedly not taking proper care of juvenile in their custody. Earlier, Justice Akil Kureshi had questioned how charges of culpable homicide could be applied in the case, when the post-mortem report clearly stated that possibility of death due to drowning cannot be ruled out. Justice Kureshi has also rejected the application filed by parents of Dipesh and Abhishek Waghela demanding CBI probe into the mysterious death of the boys, whose bodies were found from the river-bed in July 2008.

More than a year after CID (crime) began investigating, seven sadhaks of Asaram Gurukul - Pankaj Saxena, Yogesh Bhati, Vikas Khemka, Min Ketan Patra, Uday Sanghani, Kaushik Vaani and Ajay Shah  were booked. The high court then had barred the probe agency from arresting them, but has now also refused to delete their names from the complaint. In this controversial case, mysterious death and lackluster investigation had caused public uproar, following which the state government had to hand over the probe to CID (Crime) and set up a one-member inquiry commission.

A PIL was also filed in the high court by one PH Parmar demanding a thorough probe preferably by the CBI, but that was rejected. As high court has once again rejected the plea for a CBI probe, the petitioner parents of the deceased kids said that they would approach the Supreme Court with their demand.

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