The controversy surrounding the death of Jalandhar-based Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (DJJS) head Ashutosh took a new turn on Thursday after Dalip Kumar Jha (43), who claims to be Ashutosh’s son, decided to move the Supreme Court against the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Dalip told HT that since the high court had declined to handover Ashutosh’s mortal remains to him on Monday, he had no option but to move the apex court against the order.
The high court had formed a committee headed by Jalandhar district magistrate and directed it to carry out the last rites of Ashutosh who was declared clinically dead by a team of doctors on January 29. The management of DJJS had kept the body in a freezer, saying the spiritual head had gone into ‘samadhi’.
“The high court declined to hand over the body of my father for last rites. The court ordered the Punjab government to perform the last rites and disallowed my petition to be part of the cremation ceremony,” Dalip said.
He added, “I had presented all relevant documents, including my birth certificate and my parents’ marriage certificate, to prove that I am the son of Mahesh Kumar Jha (Ashutosh’s real name). However, the evidence was turned down by the court.”
Dalip said the day the court pronounced the order, he had offered to undergo a DNA test to ascertain his relationship with Ashutosh, but the court refused the same, saying it was too late.
He added that he suspected foul play in the death of his 68-year-old father and had urged the court to order a probe to ascertain the real cause of his father’s death, but his request was not considered.
“I approached the Bihar government to help me. The Bihar chief minister’s office gave a letter addressed to the Punjab government, asking the authorities to accord all possible help. However, it failed to yield the desired result,” said Dalip, adding that he would raise the aforesaid issues in the petition to be filed in the apex court on Saturday.
Senior high court lawyer RS Bains who has been representing Dalip in court said he was surprised that the court did not order a postmortem or chemical examination of the body before directing the state government to perform the last rites.
“First the DJJS management said Ashutosh died of a heart attack and later they said he had gone into ‘samadhi’. Now, after the body is gone, how do we establish if there was a foul play in his death?” asked Bains, adding that he was also surprised when the court refused to conduct a DNA test.
“The Punjab government contended in the court that the certificates produced by Dalip to prove that he was Ashutosh’s son were not valid, but did not give any evidence to support its claim,” he said.