Ahmedabad: A Gujarat minister inadvertently finds himself in the middle of a controversy by writing to rape-convict Asaram’s organisation. Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama wrote to rape-convict Asaram’s organisation, congratulating them for celebrating February 14 as ‘Matru-Pitru Diwas’. The day is celebrated the world over as Valentine’s Day.

In November last year, the Jodhpur District Parole Committee had rejected Asaram’s plea for a 20-day parole.

In April, he was sentenced to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of raping a minor girl in Manai village near Jodhpur on August 15, 2013. The court had also sentenced two other accused, Shilpi and Sharad, to 20 years each in jail in connection with the same case.

Asaram was found guilty under various charges, including sections 370(4) (trafficking), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354A (outraging modesty), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation), 109, 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and some sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Earlier, the self-styled godman’s nephew had reportedly contended that Asaram has already spent five years in the jail and was, hence, eligible for parole.

Asaram found himself in the middle of a controversy when he commented on the Nirbhaya incident and said, “Galati Ek Taraf Se Nahin Hoti Hai.”

His ashram attracted undue attention in 2008 when ten-year-old cousins, Abhishek and Dipesh Vaghela, went missing. Their bodies were later found from a riverbed close to the ashram.

The deaths lent credence to the allegations of tantric practices by Asaram. The self-styled godman also faces charges of land-grabbing.