Harpalani appeared before the Commission after evading the deposition on several occasions under one pretext or the other. On the last occasion, the Commission was considering issuance of warrant against him following which, he sent an assurance letter on his deposition and ultimately agreed to appear on Sunday.
Replying to a question by the Commission, Harpalani said that the entire episode and holding Asaram Bapu and his ashram responsible for it was part of a conspiracy to defame Asaram Bapu, his gurukul and Hindu sanskriti. He directly held one Anilgiri Goswami who used to work with the ashram-run gurukul as sports teacher responsible for the same. According
to ashram authorities, Goswami actually belonged to some other religion and was working with the gurukul under false name. He had left the ashram immediately after July 3, 2008 when the two boys went missing and were later found dead in Sabarmati river.
The Commission has been formed by the State Government in July 2008 following largescale agitation against Asaram Ashram related to the deaths of the two children. The two boys — Dipesh and Abhishek — were found dead from the Sabarmati river near the Ashram after they went missing mysteriously from the Asaram Ashram-run Gurukul on July 3, 2008. It was alleged that the two boys had died while felling prey to some exorcist inside the ashram.
Fathers of the two deceased children, Praful Vaghela and Shantilal Vaghela, were also present at the Commission along with their counsel.
Harpalani had reached the Commission office in Judges’ Bungalow area at around 12 noon. He was greeted by some of his female followers outside the Commission office with garlands and diyas. Many of followers of Asaram Ashram were also present on the occasion. Heavy police force was deployed outside the Commission to prevent any untoward incident. Anti-rioting special police vehicle, Vajra, was also kept outside the Commission office.
He was questioned extensively by the Commission headed by retired Gujarat High Court judge, D K Trivedi, ranging from his age, his birth, his schooling, his marital status and many controversial issues related to the deaths of the two children and the allegations that black magic is being practiced at ashram and that he was one of the exponents of black magic. He called the allegations as ‘ridiculous’.
Harpalani told the Commission that the practice of black magic is there but, it was neither espoused by him or Asaram ashram ever. He infact shown readiness to produce evidence of his past lectures where he openly condemned the black magic practice. Citing reference to a book on Lord Shiva, he said that an exponent of black magic would get rebirth as a dog.
Harpalani told the Commission that on July 3, 2008 when the two boys went missing, he had come only till the gate of the ashram in Ahmedabad late in the night as he had just came back from Mauritius. He said that from there he had gone to his ashram in Pedhmala in Sabarkantha.
In his statement before police, Harpalani has stated that he was present at Asaram Ashram in Ahmedabad between July 3, 2008 and July 5, 2008 when the two children went missing and found dead. However, he told the commission that police did not read out his statement recorded by them and did not know what was recorded by them.
At the end part of Harpalani’s deposition, Shantilal Vaghela had stood up and shouted against Narayan Sai that he was not a saint. This led to a verbal clash between Shantilal and inmates of Asaram Ashram in the court room of the Commission. Though, police - present in the court room - intervened and the groups were reportedly pacified.