Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu deposed before the D K Trivedi Commission on Saturday in connection with the mysterious deaths of two minor students of the gurukul run by his ashram in 2008 and alleged that “foreign powers” were behind the alleged adverse publicity campaign against him and his ashram. He has also alleged that even the deaths were part of a conspiracy to malign him, his ashram and the Hindu religion.
The deposition lasted for nearly eight hours. Earlier today, Asaram came along with his followers at the Commission in Judges’ Bungalow area. Even before his arrival, hundreds of his followers had gathered outside the Commission office. A tight security arrangement was made to prevent any untoward incident.
Asaram told the Commission that on July 3, 2008, he was in Nagpur and he came to know about the deaths of the two children the next day. He said the news jolted him and he had asked his followers to do religious recitations. In an emotional tone, he said, “For the parents of the two, they were their physical parents. But for me, they were my manas putra.”
He said the entire episode was part of a conspiracy under which one person sneaked into the gurukul a few days before the incident and disappeared after the incident.
Pointing to the foreign hand in the conspiracy, Asaram said, “The manner in which media joined the episode, it became clear (to him) that foreign powers were behind it.”
Initially, he said that he did not want to name the conspirators but later he named one Gosai as the person who was part of the conspiracy. He did not elaborate on the conspiracy when asked by the lawyer of the parents of the deceased children.
Asaram said that since it was a conspiracy to malign the ashram, on July 17, 2008, he had held a meeting of ashram officials and asked them to increase the security on the campus.
Asaram said that he knows about the existence of “tantrik vidhya” (black magic) but added that neither he knew black magic nor anybody else from his ashram. On the issue of security arrangements prevalent at all his ashrams, Asaram said the officials concerned of the ashram there were responsible for the same.
After lunch, he told the Commission that the police outside the Commission office were misbehaving with his women followers and added that this could make things going out of control.
Asaram had appeared before the Commission after evading the summons for a considerable time. Recently, while rejecting Asaram’s petition, the Gujarat High Court had rapped the Commission in giving convenience to Asaram and his son Narayan Sai.
The Commission has been constituted to probe into the circumstances under which the two boys went missing from gurukul on July 3, 2008. Mutilated bodies of the two were found from the Sabarmati riverbed on July 5 in the vicinity of the ashram.
The issue created furore and led to a widespread public agitation against the ashram with allegations that the two boys had fell prey to some black magic practitioner from the ashram.
‘I saw a ghost 15 years ago at Viramgam’
During his deposition, Asaram claimed that 15 years ago he had seen a ghost! In the course of his deposition, Asaram told the Commission that he had seen a ghost in Mandal village of Viramgam taluka in Ahmedabad when he was having a walk after dinner. “I saw a white shadow. While following the shadow, I belched and recited Om namah shivay. And with that, the shadow crashed with a tree,” he claimed.