New Delhi, Aug 21: The Hindu spiritual leader Asaram Bapu, on Wednesday, embroiled himself into a fresh controversy after a 16-year-old girl from Jodhpur filed a complaint of a sexual assault against him.
Famous for his divine discourses all over the country, it is said that the Asaram Bapu attained sainthood in Madhya Pradesh 38 years ago.
At the age of 32, Asaram established a small shack that has taken a form of a 'sprawling' Sant Shri Asharamji Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
With property worth more than Rs 500 crore, Bapu has over 200 ashrams in and outside India.
But from a long time, 72-year-old self-proclaimed Godman has been embroiled in various controversies.
Here are top 10 controversies of Asaram Bapu:
Attempt to Murder Case:
Gujarat police, in 2009, had filed an attempt to murder case against Asaram Bapu and two others. Raju Chandak, a former aide of the "godman", was attacked by guns following his complaint against Asaram Bapu.
Raju Chandak had filed an affidavit in which he had claimed that he had seen Asaram Bapu in objectionable positions during tantric rituals which were being performed in the ashram.
Land Encroachment Case:
District officials along with police assistance had bulldozed a vast place of Asaram's ashram and had taken the possession in 2000.
The officials of the ashram were accused of ignoring the repetitive summons following a complaint by local villagers who had claimed that ashram had encroached upon another 18,000 square metres.
The Asaram Ashram was allocated about 10 acres by the State government in 2000.
Mysterious deaths of two children inside ashram:
10-year-old Dipesh Vaghela and 11-year-old Abhishek Vaghela, two cousins studying at Ashram's Gurukul at Motera, had gone missing and later their bodies were found on the Sabarmati riverbed on Jul 5, 2008. Initially, a commission was set up to probe the mysterious death of the two children and later CID took over the case.
The investigative agency in its report claimed that seven booked (culpable homicide) officials of the ashram had failed lie detection tests regarding activities related to tantra sadhna and black magic that were being practiced at the ashram.
Asaram's statement on Delhi Gangrape Victim:
Addressing his followers, the "godman" claimed that the victim of the Delhi gangrape could have saved herself by addressing her violators as bhaiyya (brother) and beseeching for mercy.
Asaram calls critics and media "barking dogs":
Following his shocking statement on the victim of Delhi gangrape, Asaram Bapu landed in another controversy when he called media and critics "barking dogs".
While reacting to media queries, Asaram Bapu on Jan 8, 2013 chided, "The media has created a controversy but what did I say that was wrong? One dog barked and more dogs (the media) joined in. Dogs will bark but they can't harm an elephant's dignity."
Madhya Pradesh land grab case:
In January 2013, the self-proclaimed spiritual leader ran into fresh trouble with the Serious Fraud Investigating Office
(SFIO) recommended his prosecution in a Rs 700-crore land grab case in Madhya Pradesh.
The case pertained to 200 acres of land in Ratlam.
In February this year, 24-year-old Rahul Pachouri mysteriously died at Bapu's ashram in Jabalpur. Rahul's father alleged that his son was poisoned in the Ashram.
He told the TV channel that his son had said that he had some information about fake medicines being sold by the ashram.
Asaram Bapu warned Narendra Modi of “suppression”:
In his public address, Asaram warned Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday saying that "if you will try to suppress us more, then we will throw you out".
"The way Gujarat Police had treated us, even Ravan's police would not have treated anyone. Even though we took permission, we were mistreated. But I have also stated that I will do a satsang in Somnath. They can arrest whosoever they want," Asaram said.
Bapu made this statement in a case related to the mysterious deaths of Dipesh and Abhishek Waghela- students of Motera Gurukul (in July 2008).
Asaram Bapu 'kicked' devotee, hurled abuses:
In February this year, in Madhya Pradesh's Vidisha district, Bapu lost his temper and kicked one of his devotees named Aman Singh Dangi, who went to seek his blessings.
Dangi, the victim, later told reporters that he was brutally kicked by the godman and his guards when he went near the spiritual guru to touch his feet after a religious discourse.
Not only this, the godman also hurled abuses at Dangi in presence of other devotees and asked him to shoo away.
Asaram Bapu 'slapped' journalist
In September 2012, Asaram Bapu courted controversy after he slapped a video journalist during his satsang in Ghaziabad.
A Hindi news channel reporter along with the cameraman had approached Asaram Bapu for an interview during his three-day long satsang at Kavi Nagar in the city. on his On his miraculous escape in a helicopter crash in Godhra, Bapu said, "I am so powerful that I came out unhurt even after the chopper broke up into three parts on landing," he said leading to much excitement among his supporters.
Asaram then asked the cameraman to record the response of the crowd but when the journalist ignored his order, he went wild and slapped the cameraman.