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By Kunal Rao

The Delhi High Court, which had observed that what was going on at the Adhyatmic Vishwavidyalya, Rohini was pretty much like what used to happen at the Dera Sacha Sauda of Baba Ram Rahim in Sirsa, has come down heavily on the shady and criminal activities of the absconding founder of the Rohini ashram, Baba Virender Dev Dixit.

On Friday (December 22) the court ordered the CBI to probe not only the Rohini Ashram, where girls and women were allegedly being illegally confined, but also six more such ashrams of the same organisation spread across the city.

The court gave this order based on the information received by its constituted team member and DCW chief Swati Maliwal (that she had rescued 41 more girls) along with the child welfare committee and Delhi Police.

During the hearing Amol Kokne, advocate for the inmates of the ashram, handed over a list of 25 males living in the building adjacent to the ashram. This was at A-339 Vijay Vihar. The search party found a cave-like tunnel joining the buildings. It was also noted by the bench that Adhyatmik Ashram has no legal status and it’s not even a registered society, trust or company. The bench also ordered Amol Kokne to produce Virender Dev Dixit as well as Deepak Thomas on the next date of hearing.

The bench had been informed by the Narender Mann, special public prosecutor that an SIT appointed by the Director of CBI has taken up the matter. The bench ordered that the SIT of the CBI shall trace the whereabouts of Virender Dev Dixit and shall inform the court as to when the CBI would be producing him before court.

The Delhi Police as well as the Govt. of NCT of Delhi are directed to render full cooperation and every kind of assistance including logistical support as required by the CBI.

The bench has ordered Adhyatmic Vishwavidyalya shall ensure that the investigation and inquiries of the SIT of the CBI is facilitated and no obstruction shall be caused thereto.

The bench had been informed by Nandita Rao, Advocate and a member of the Committee, that the Child Welfare Committee (VI) has visited the premises and has identified 41 girls with regard to whom the age verification in accordance with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was necessary. It was submitted that these persons have been lodged in Minda Bal Gram, Child Care Institution, Holambi Khurd More, Alipur, Delhi till such time that the age verification is done. The Bench directed that the age verification of these girls shall be conducted expeditiously and a report in this regard be submitted before this Court on the next date of hearing.

The Bench had been informed by the petitioner that the Adhyatmic Vishwavidyalya is running six identical Ashrams at Majlis Park; Nangloi; Palam Vihar; Uttam Nagar; Karawal Nagar; and Nawada in Delhi. The Bench directed them (Adhyatmic Vishwavidyalya) to furnish the complete details of these premises to Narender Mann, SPP for the CBI; Rahul Mehra, Standing Counsel (Crl.) for the GNCTD; Swati Maliwal, Chaiperson – DCW; Nandita Rao, Advocate; and Ajay Verma, Advocate within three days.

The Bench had been informed by Swati Maliwal that Adhyatmic Vishwavidyalya had confined young girls including minors for years. Even if such persons were staying at the premises of their own volition, it cannot be overlooked that these girls and women are confined under close scrutiny subject to years of indoctrination. They are not permitted to meet even close relatives during this period. Certainly they would be incapable of giving free consent at all.

The Bench had assured that it will consider this aspect when further status report is filed in this matter.

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