From procuring gau mutra (cow urine), depositing funds in the bank accounts of incarcerated self-styled “godman” Asaram and his son Narayan Sai to “killing key witnesses” who testified against his “god”, Karthik Haldar, 31-year-old alleged sharp shooter, in his statement before police has revealed details of his life at Motera ashram here and his vow to eliminate opponents of the controversial spiritual guru or commit suicide.
In the 30-page statement recorded by the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), Ahmedabad, Haldar “confessed” to have murdered three crucial witnesses and attempts to kill four others in the rape cases against Asaram and his son.
According to police, he said to eliminate people who spoke or testified against Asaram, more than Rs 25 lakh was collected from sadhaks across the country.
His statement, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, revealed: “After I started killing opponents of Asaram, money was collected from Asaram sevaks across Bharat… Rs 15 lakh was paid to Damodar singh, a resident of Jharkhand, for procuring an AK-47. But even after two years, he didn’t give the AK-47. However, the two barrel gun and about 40 cartridges, used for killing Akhil Gupta, was provided by Damodar Singh.” Akhil was murdered in Muzaffarnagar last year.
Haldar told police that apart from killing witnesses, a conspiracy was hatched to eliminate Assistant Commissioner of Police Chanchal Mishra, who investigated the rape case in Jodhpur. In his statement, Haldar said, there was a plan to “bomb Chanchal Mishra who was terse while talking to Bapu.” He has said that he received such information through one Kishan alias Boby that “dynamite was being procured from Mumbai”.
Haldar, a native of West Bengal, first came to Motera ashram in 2001 from Delhi, and for seven years he did odd jobs such as collecting gau mutra and depositing cash in the bank accounts of Asaram.
The statement revealed that Haldar became close to Asaram in 2009 after he tried to murder Raju Chandak, a Chandkheda resident, for speaking against the “godman”. A month after the assault, Haldar went to Delhi to start his own transport business. He also went to Asaram’s satsang, where the “godman” publicly called his name to meet him later.
“After 15 minutes, I went to see him. Bapu (Asaram) asked me why have you come from Ahmedbad ashram to Delhi. I told him that I want to start a transport business… Bapu told me there was no need to work, and asked me to start arranging stalls at satsang…. At that time Bapu asked me in private that who was behind the attack on Raju Chandak, and I answered that I and Sanju (Malegaon) have done it. Sanju opened fire at Raju Chandak, while I was riding the bike,” he stated.
When Asaram was arrested in a rape case in 2013 and lodged in Jodhpur jail, Haldar along with dozens of “samarpit sadhak (dedicated devotees)” planned to kill the witnesses one by one. “After Asaram Bapu went to jail, I met him thrice,” Haldar said in the statement in which he referred to Asaram as his “god” several times. He stated that a month before he was arrested, he talked to Asaram over phone with help from one Balvir, but due to network problem he couldn’t hear anything. Haldar was arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad on March 14 from Raipur.
Haldar allegedly killed Amrut Prajapati, former aide of Asaram and key witness who was shot in Rajkot at his Ayurveda clinic in June 2014. Akhil Gupta, who worked with Asaram as a cook and testified against the “godman”, was also shot dead in January 2015 near his house in Muzaffarnagar. He also allegedly killed Mahendra Chawla, personal assistant to Asaram between 2001 and 2005 who was also shot at his house in May 2015 in Panipat.
Narrating assaults on the witnesses, Haldar referred to a meeting in Delhi where it was decided to “murder all who were against Asaram”, including Prajapati, Shekhar, Raju Chandak, Rahul Sachan, Mahendra Chawla and Dinesh Bhagchandani. Many other witnesses were later added in the list.
His statement read: “Two months had passed since the Delhi meeting, but no witness was eliminated… I took a pledge in the presence of sadhaks Dushyant, Santosh and Narayan Pandey in Panipat that if I don’t kill anyone in a month, I will shoot myself.”
Days later Haldar with another co-accused identified as Bharat killed Prajapati. He narrated the entire incident, saying he went to Prajapati’s clinic as a patient.
Moments before shooting Prajapati, Haldar mentioned in his statement, “I moved closer to the room where Prajapati was sitting. He was coming out of his room. I told him ‘Vaidyaji aa dava check kari lo (Vaidyaji check this medicine)’. While saying this, I put my right hand inside the plastic bag and took out the gun and waved in front of him which made him gasped. I shot three to four rounds at him from three to four foot distance, there was a loud noise and due to recoil caused by gun my hand went up and the bullet hit Prajapati’s head… at that time the plastic bag in which another pistol was fell from my had. I tucked the gun and ran out of the clinic and zoomed off on the motorcycle with Bharat. After certain distance, I threw the gun.”