Two unidentified men riding on a motorcycle threw acid at a friend of one of the witnesses in the rape case against controversial spiritual guru Asaram Bapu in Surat on Sunday.
"The victim has been identified as Dinesh Bhavchandani (39) who has given a statement against Asaram in the case," said a police officer. "The incident took place when Bhavchandani was riding to his house near Vesu Royal Residency. Two men on a bike overtook him and threw acid," added the police officer.
The victim was rushed to a hospital and is reported to be in a stable condition. It may be recalled that two other witnesses in cases of rape against the self-styled godman and his son Narayan Sai were attacked few days ago.
Asked about providing police protection to the witnesses in this case, the DCP said, "Most witnesses are given police protection, but these three victims had refused it."
Asaram has been accused of repeated rapes and illegal confinement between 1997 and 2006 by a Surat-based woman. In her complaint before the police, the woman had said that she was raped when she was living at the ashram of the controversial godman on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Her younger sister has filed an FIR against Asaram's son Narayan Sai.
The 72-year-old Asaram is currently languishing in Jodhpur Central Jail after being arrested in September 2013 in connection with raping a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.