NEW DELHI: In a starling accusation, a former close aide of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, who has been arrested for molesting a 16-year-old girl, claims the controversial spiritual guru has built three ashrams across India for women, who are no more than his “keep”, according to Daily Bhaskar.
“Apart from these, he also keeps many women in separate rooms built in each ashram. Though old, Asaram Bapu needs young girls in the age group of 15 to 25 daily. He may not touch the same woman for a year, as he needs a new girl every time,” the daily quotes Amrut Prajapati, who worked as a technical officer of the Ayurvedic division at Asaram Bapu’s Motera ashram for 12 long years.
Prajapati further claimed that women are killed if they try to resist the godman’s advances. “These women were then shown to have committed suicide. There must be an inquiry on how many men or women have committed suicides in his ashrams or how many dead bodies were found in the river behind his Motera ashram,” alleged Prajapati.
“One day, I was allowed to see him inside his private room, as he was severely ill. Since the guards knew me well, I went straight to his room and found Asaram Bapu in a compromising position with a 25-year-old girl, who used to stay in the ashram. This was the turning point for me,” said Prajapati.
Asaram Bapu’s official website www.ashram.org is a portal of self adulation by the guru. It boasts of how ‘Asumal’ turned his fortune in four decades to become Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu who built an empire that stretches beyond the boundaries of the country.
Prajapati explained how the spiritual guru turned his ‘humble abode’ on the banks of Sabarmati to an empire comprising over 400 ashrams in India and abroad. Prajapati resigned to start practice at his own clinic at Odhav as an Ayurvedic doctor. He had worked with Asaram Bapu from 1986 to 2001.
Prajapati claimed to have left the Ashram during 2004 after being threatened. Despite being under threat, he gave his statement to Justice DK Trivedi commission, who was appointed to investigate the deaths of Dipesh and Abhishek Vaghela and has been vocal against the godman ever since.
“Before I joined his ashram as a salaried technical officer of their Ayurveda medicine division in 1986, Asaram Bapu used to sell churans manufactured in his ashram, without any licence. At that time, he used to sit at his small Kutiya on the riverbank near Motera, which later on became the ashram. During the eighties, not more 200 people used to visit Asaram. With my technical help, he started expanding his Aurveda market and started selling many products to his devotees,” said Prajapati.
“First, he never pays any tax for whatever products he sells. Almost all the ashrams are built on agricultural land without permission. He owns more than 500 vehicles, which, however, are not shown as his property. He never even pays toll tax while travelling by road,” Prajapati said.
According to Prajapati, Asaram Bapu charges huge money to visit a devotee’s house. “He may charge anything between Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh just for the visit. He has an army of agents to find out how much money can be charged from the aspirant devotee. This money is then given on interest. Asaram Bapu has 75% stake in a popular Delhi-based jeweler showroom, which has many branches,” Prajapati claimed.
Prajapati gave a very interesting reason behind Asaram Bapu’s huge following. “He preaches high values and claims that he is omnipresent by referring that one of his devotee saw him in his dreams. Thus, out of 10 people listening to his discourse, at least two will see Asaram Bapu in their dreams a day later, thinking that Asaram Bapu is no less than god. They then tell their experience to 100 more people. This is how people started thinking that Asaram Bapu is divine. However, he is just playing with their minds,” Prajapati claims.
Giving similar views, Praful Vaghela, former Asaram Bapu devotee and father of Dipesh Vaghela, claimed that Asaram Bapu applies his unique modus operandi to acquire land and gain support of politicians.
“He always invites influential personalities, such as ministers and MLAs while conducting satsangs. Thus, the invited guests are left with no other option than to praise Asaram Bapu for his activities. Using such testimonials, he approaches the local government and asks them to give him land for his ashram and other social activities. This is how he acquired land and made influential people his disciples. Thus, no one dares to touch him,” Vaghela claimed.
He recorded his statement on May 23, 2011. Trivedi commission has submitted the report to the government. (Courtesy Bhaskar)
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