Digvijay Singh gifted prime land to Asaram Bapu, says complainant

Written by PTI | Indore | Updated: Sep 12 2013, 21:27pm hrs
Digvijay SinghAsaram Bapu was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of a schoolgirl. PTI
The issue of allotment of a piece of prime land to jailed self-styled godman Asaram Bapu's trust for his ashram here in 1998 by the then Digvijay Singh-led Congress Government has reached the court.

A complaint was filed in a local court today against Singh for allotting seven hectares of land to Asaram's trust allegedly by violating rules. The land was given on a nominal lease rent of Re 1 per annum by the then Congress Government.

The complaint against the Congress General Secretary and others was filed by a businessman, Digvijay Singh Bhandari (34).

Besides the former Chief Minister, Asaram Bapu, his son Narayan Sai, Revenue Department officials and the then Indore Collector have been made party in the case, which was filed in the court of Special Judge D N Mishra.

Talking to reporters, Bhandari's lawyer Manohar Dalal said his client has sought court direction for registration of an FIR against those named in the complaint for cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of trust by public servants and under relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.

"Singh was a devotee of Asaram Bapu and therefore overlooked rules while allotting the land to the trust. The plot's market value at that time was Rs 5 crore but the Congress leader gave it as a "Gurudakshina" (gift to a teacher) on a nominal annual lease rent of just Re 1," Dalal said.

"Because of this the state exchequer had suffered a loss of Rs 5 crore, while Asaram Bapu and his son illegally made as much profit from it," he maintained.

The court has fixed September 16 for hearing the matter.

The district administration had yesterday issued a notice to the trust for violating the conditions of lease deed.

The self-styled godman was arrested from the ashram on Khandwa Road near here in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old inmate of his Chhindwara-based religious centre, who hailed from Rajasthan.

72-year-old Asaram Bapu is currently lodged in Jodhpur jail.