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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Asaram’s daughter distances herself from father’s trust

The Sant Shri Asaram Trust, which looks after 400 ashrams, 40 schools, a printing press and an Ayurveda unit, is said to be worth over Rs 5,000 crore.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2018 23:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
A view of Asaram's ashram in Bhopal on April 25.
A view of Asaram's ashram in Bhopal on April 25.(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)
         

Bhartishri, the daughter of jailed self-styled godman Asaram, on Friday distanced herself from the trust named after her father, saying she snapped ties with it some “16-17 years ago”.

The Sant Shri Asaram Trust, which looks after 400 ashrams, 40 schools, a printing press and an Ayurveda unit, is said to be worth over Rs 5,000 crore, claim police officials who have followed the case closely.

Bhartishri’s statement came two days after Asaram was give life sentence by a Jodhpur court for raping a minor girl. Like Shilpi, a warden of Asaram’s school who was also been convicted for coercing the minor girl, Bhartishri is a co-accused in another rape case of 2013 filed by two Surat-based sisters against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai. Shilpi was awarded 20 years imprisonment by the Jodhpur court.

”Trust management feels that I am not with them. The outside world feels that I am with the trust. But I have disassociated myself from the trust 16-17 years ago. My organisation is separate from the trust and our activities are different as well,’’ the 43-year-old told the media outside a Gandhinagar court where trial for the rape against one of the two sisters is going on.

The younger sister’s case trial has been going on in a Surat court. The two sisters were allegedly raped between 2002 and 2004 but came forward to register a case only after the Jodhpur minor rape case came to light.

Bhartishri added, ”Time and again saints in India have faced such (rape) allegations. But we have to respect the court’s judgment.”

The Gujarat police are likely to seek Asaram’s custody to produce him in the court. Lodged in Jodhpur Central Jail since 2013, so far Asaram has attended the Gandhinagar court trial only through video-conferencing.

Like Asaram, Bhartishri too presided over satsangs (religious gatherings) for years. She had taken diskha (religious vow) at the age of 14. People close to the Asaram trust said with both Asaram and son Sai lodged in jail for last five years now, Bhartishri has been leading the satsangs and other activities across the country.

First Published: Apr 27, 2018 23:58 IST

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