In an audio conversation and a letter, the woman claims the swami never raped her, but is ambiguous on how his genitals were severed.

 Kerala woman who chopped off self-styled godmans penis now says he never raped herSreehari
news Crime Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 19:43

About a month ago, a shocking event came to light from Kerala. A young law student told the police and a magistrate that she had severed the penis of a godman named Sreehari alias Ganeshananda Theerthapada Swami, for allegedly raping her for several years. In an unprecedented turn of events now, the woman has taken back the allegations and said that the Swami had never sexually abused her.

Aparna* (not her real name), in a letter dated June 12 and addressed to Sreehari’s lawyer called Sreehari “a very good and kind person who was and is a member of our family in which he holds the position of the head.” Denying all earlier allegations of sexual abuse, Aparna claims that ‘swamiji’ was framed by the police and judiciary.

She also describes in the letter her and her family’s adoration of Sreehari and goes on to say that the relationship between her and Swami was one where he “considered, cared, and loved” Aparna like a kid, and she too “loved him back”.

“He was the one who motivated me to join the LLB course and supported me in my studies. There had been no form of sexual harassment from swamiji towards me, neither when I was a minor nor after I turned 18 years (sic),” she adds.

Aparna then talks about a person called Ayyapadas who was known to Sreehari and through him, known to her and her family. Aparna says she had a “good relationship with Ayyapadas” but it was he who soured the relationship between her and Sreehari “by accusing swamiji of looting money from my parents and making me believe that he is taking our documents like salary certificate of my father to loot us indirectly.” 

She then claims that Ayyappadas and two others – Manoj and Ajith – were planning to destroy Sreehari financially, because apparently, he had looted Manoj and Ajith’s families too. “Ayyapadas made me feel that I should also take revenge on swamiji for continuously looting my family,” Aparna writes.

Coming to the bobbitising incident itself, Aparna’s letter changes the version of events completely.

“He (Ayyappadas) had asked me to go near swamiji and cut off his penis with a knife he gave me few days back which would take the incident to another form. I went near swamiji but fortunately or unfortunately I could not act as per the instructions given to me which was his plan along with the two others.”

Aparna implies here that the act of chopping off Sreehari’s penis was insinuated by Ayyappadas and his aides, to give the incident the undertone of sexual abuse. After this, Aparna’s letter gets ambiguous. “Suddenly then, swamiji made a cry on hearing which I ran out of the home as instructed by Ayyappadas”.

Here, Aparna implies that she didn’t go through with the plan, but doesn’t really clarify if she or someone else chopped off Sreehari’s penis.

However, in an audio conversation released by Ajith Kumar, Aparna gives a different version. In the tape she says that she went inside the room to meet ‘Swamiji’ and he was glad to see her. “I was sitting next to him, he was very tired. I was in a trance, as I had been told to bobbitise him.”

The conversation gets murky here. Aparna says that she had a knife in her hand and swiped it once. She tells the lawyer that she was not sure which body part of his she had chopped and she was surprised when police told her that 90% of the penis had been chopped off. “I was surprised when they said that. I wasn’t even sure which part of his body I had attacked. It was dark,” she says.

However, in another part of the tape she says she was holding his organ.

On May 19, when Aparna had been taken for a medical test, godman Sreehari’s semen was found on her clothes.

In the audio conversation, Aparna gives a bizarre version. “The semen was in my hands and I put it on my clothes. I did not do it to create evidence. It fell on my hands and so I smeared on my clothes.”

A senior police officer TNM spoke to, said, “The woman is obviously under pressure to change her statement. She was living with her parents for a few days after the incident. Listen to the audio; she and the lawyer are trying her best to show that there is no case. If she simply swiped her knife on him, how did the semen come on her?”

The officer added that the woman, her mother and the godman had changed their version many times and they had asked the court to allow a polygraph test. Sreehari at one point had told the police that he had severed his own genitals. 

“A case is taken based on a woman’s statement, now the woman changes her version. The police is in a dilemma. If one believes her new statement, then there is no case. But we need to ascertain whether she is under pressure and so a polygraph test is necessary,” another officer told TNM.

Aparna, in the letter and the audio, alleges that when she went to record her statement at the police station, they “turned it upside down”. “There my statement was written and altered and rewritten and it was read was read out to me as I don’t know how to read Malayalam,” Aparna says.

Aparna claims that different police officers came to meet her at different points of time and compelled her to go along with the sexual exploitation allegations. She also alleges that she was asked to comply with the statement that her mother also had a relationship with Swami. She says then, that the police told her to repeat the same story before the magistrate.

Sreehari’s lawyer has handed over Aparna’s statement to the police, hoping to prove his 'innocence' with it.

54-year-old Sreehari ‘Swami’ belonged to a Kollam ashram. According to what the police had told TNM at the time, Swami used to visit Aparna’s home in Thiruvanthapuram to pray for her ailing father. The police said that Aparna had justified her act of chopping off his penis, which she has now denied, saying that no one would have believed her had she claimed a man of god had been sexually assaulting her. 

Note: TNM confirmed with the victim and the police that audio and letter was by her.