Pulling up the defence lawyer representing a north Delhi-based ashram for failing to produce its founder, self-styled godman Virendra Dev Dixit, the Delhi High Court Thursday said if he was “teaching spirituality” then there should be no need for the CBI to trace him.
The court also directed the agency to find him and submit a status report by February 5 on the cases registered against the godman.
On December 19, the court had ordered an inspection of Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya ashram in Rohini’s Vijay Vihar after a PIL was filed by an NGO alleging illegal confinement of girls.
The court-appointed panel had rescued 48 girls from various branches of the ashram, who were allegedly kept in “animal-like” conditions behind metal doors in a “fortress- like” building. The HC then ordered a CBI probe.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also pulled up Dixit’s aide, Deepak Disilva, for not telling the “truth” on where the godman lived. Disilva runs the ashram’s Mumbai branch.
Pulling up defence lawyer Amol Kokere and Disilva, the court said: “In the last hearing you told us that you are in touch with Dixit through Disilva. Today, you both say you don’t know his whereabouts. We all know you are in touch with him and are not telling us the truth.”
Kokere also told the court that the godman frequently visited several ashrams to deliver spiritual speeches, but doesn’t stay for long at one place due to “threats” from “disgruntled” members.
The bench also pulled up police for registering a zero FIR against the family members of an inmate, who alleged that she was raped by her brother and took refuge in the ashram.
It said the incident took place in 2008 but police registered an FIR only on December 22 last year.
Taking into account the court panel’s report — which claimed that the ashram was making inmates write letters and lodge similar complaints of sexual assaults against their own family members — the bench warned the ashram not to “resort” to such tactics.
It directed the ashram to submit its stand on an affidavit filed by the NGO. To this, Kokere replied, “I have come with a detailed reply of 1,300 pages… and I will submit it today.”