There was at least one hardened criminal among the supporters of self-styled godman Asaram who had formed a security cordon around him at the Bhopal airport and entered into a scuffle with the journalists on Friday. Police identified the criminal as Laxman Santwani alias Vebu. He was recently arrested for carrying illegal weapons and allegedly works as an extortionist for gangster Mukhtar,said police.
On Friday,Asarams supporters had tried to prevent photojournalists from reaching near him at the airport. The controversial preacher by then had missed the deadline to appear before the Jodhpur police in the sexual assault case of a minor girl.
The scuffle that followed was caught on camera. After an FIR was filed,police identified at least seven people from the video footage provided by the journalists. One of them is Vebu,who was arrested on April 4 for carrying weapons. After two weeks,he was released on bail, said CSP (Jahangirabad) Salim Khan.
Police have not yet made a single arrest in the case though their teams have visited the preachers Bhopal ashram and also searched a few other premises. A senior police officer said Vebu was not the only criminal in the group of Asarams supporters. There were some more who have criminal background,the officer said. Harish Meharchandani,the spokesperson of the ashram,denied any link with Vebu.
Meanwhile,the hearing on the bail plea of Asaram,accused of sexually assaulting a minor,remained unfinished on Tuesday and was postponed till Wednesday morning for further argument.