New Delhi: It seems that controversies and self-styled godmen share a good rapport with each other, at least in India.
These spiritual leaders continue to enjoy supports of their followers despite the fact they have been surrounded by several controversies like financial irregularities, sexual abuse, abduction and sometimes even murder.
Their disciples blindly believe them because of their claims that they have special powers.
Though India has an anti-superstition law to deal with wrongdoings by such godmen, their popularity remains unaffected.
The self-proclaimed spiritual leader is facing trial in a 2006 case when his disciples opened fire on villagers, killing one and injuring several others in Rohtak.
He was charged with murder, attempt to commit murder and other charges under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but was later released on bail which has now been cancelled due to his absence during the trials.
Since 2010, he has skipped court hearings 42 times, after seeking repeated exemptions.
He runs a sprawling “Satlok Ashram” in Barwala, Haryana, where 40,000 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have been deployed to ensure he appears before court in person.
He has over 425 ashrams and more than 50 gurukuls all over. He has disciples not only in India but abroad also.
He has been jailed over charges of sexually assaulting a schoolgirl in one of his ashrams and is also accused of grabbing over 700-acre land illegally.
Asaram and his son were also investigated in the mysterious deaths of two boys who went missing from his ashram.
He was named as one of the 100 most spiritually influential living people in the world by Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit magazine. He has authored over 300 books published in 27 languages and claims to be the most-watched spiritual teacher on YouTube.