A pile of bricks stands outside Hrishi Bhavan on Pedar Road, Rajkot, marking the block out of which naturopathy centre Oum Shanti Arogyadham used to function. One wall still intact bears the mark of a bullet. It had been fired at Ayurveda doctor Amrut Prajapati on Friday, May 23. Prajapati, who died on June 10, was a former aide of Asaram Bapu and had allegedly been threatened and attacked several times since breaking ties with the guru, now jailed for alleged rape.
Prajapati was reportedly introduced to Arogyadham a year ago by Dr Jaysukh Makwana, an Ayurveda dentist then attached with the centre, and who had come in contact with him at a meeting of Ayurveda practitioners in Ahmedabad around three years ago.
That Friday, Prajapati was making the second of his twice-a-month visits. He initially used to visit every Friday, “but a month ago he said he was too busy with other work and therefore would visit only twice a month”, says Thakar Patel, trustee of Samaj Seva Kendra that had started Arogyadham around five years ago. Patel says he had just walked out of the main gate when he heard gunshots that day.
He says Prajapati had no more appointments that day and would have left Rajkot in the afternoon. Prajapati was unprotected, with his guard, constable Narsinh Patel, having gone for lunch.
In the morning, Arogyadham had got a call came from someone speaking in Hindi and who the police believe was the shooter. Identifying himself as “Raju Patel from Rajkot”, he had sought an appointment with Prajapati for himself and his wife. “He did not bring his wife along. Prajapati examined him. The assailant left the premises thereafter. But when Prajapati finished checking patients and emerged from his chamber, the assailant accosted him at the acrylic door, shot him and sped away on a motorbike with another man,” a police officer said.
The trust began razing the block around a week after the firing, while Prajapati was still battling for life at an Ahmedabad hospital. “We had signed an agreement with a bank two months ago to rent the block out. So, we are making adjustments to the block and shifting Arogyadham to another part of the building,” says Patel.
Police say this does not amount to destruction of evidence. “The panchanama of the scene has been made and forensic experts have measured the site. We have collected relevant material like a firearm and a few cartridges and the entire block has been photographed. If somebody changes the physical contours of the block now, it is not relevant to the case and does not constitute destruction of evidence,” continued…
False cases play havoc with the crime statistics and tend to trivialise the offence of rape.