Surat: Self-styled ‘godman’ Asaram has accumulated wealth to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore and vast tracts of land across the country, the value of which is yet to be assessed, police said on Thursday.
“The scrutiny of documents recovered during the raid has established that wealth of Asaram’s ashrams in the form of bank accounts and other investments including shares, debentures and government bonds (excluding land) is valued at Rs 9,000-Rs 10,000 crore,” city commissioner of police Rakesh Asthana told reporters on Thursday.
“The value of land has not been included in the assessment of Rs 10,000 crore,” he said, adding the figures can escalate as there are many more documents still to be retrieved.
Accordingly, the city police has informed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Income Tax (IT) department and the Enforcement Directorate for further probe into the violations.
Police raid at one of Asaram’s properties in Ahmedabad few months ago, unearthed thousands of documents detailing his financial transactions which was brought to the city in more than 40 big bags.
In Gujarat, they hold land at 45 places in 10 districts. Also, they own land at 33 places across eight districts in four states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, the CP said.
“The CBDT, the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate have been informed about the transactions. They will assist us in investigation,” he said.
These documents have been recovered from one place and it is not known whether they used to keep papers elsewhere too, Asthana said.
Asaram and his son Narayan Sai are behind bars in connection with various rape cases.
The raids were conducted following a complaint by two sisters against Sai and his father, accusing them of rape, sexual assault, illegal confinement and other charges.
Surat police had booked 40-year-old Sai under various sections including rape, unnatural sex, molestation, wrongful confinement, unlawful assembly, rioting armed with deadly weapon, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy under IPC.
In her complaint, the younger of the two sisters had accused Sai of repeated sexual assault between 2002 and 2005 when she was living at the Surat ashram.
The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 during the time she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
The complaint against Asaram, which was initially lodged at Surat’s Jehangirpura police station, was transferred to city’s Chandkheda police station as the alleged incident took place here.
Asaram, 72, is currently lodged in a Jodhpur jail after being arrested in September for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.
A chargesheet was filed against Asaram in a court in Gandhinagar earlier this month accusing him of unnatural sex, rape and illegal confinement.
Sai was apprehended from Haryana-Delhi border earlier last month after evading arrest for nearly two months in the sexual assault case lodged against him by an inmate of his Surat-based ashram.
Sai had himself admitted on December 11, 2013 that he entered into physical relationship with eight of his female disciples.