Ahmedabad: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Gujarat has arrested self-styled godman Asaram Bapu’s alleged henchman who is suspected to have shot dead three key witnesses in rape cases filed against the religious leader.
ATS officers said Karthik alias Raju Dulalchand Haldar, resident of Ramlochanpur in South 24 Parganas, had become a ‘sadhu’ in 2000 and a follower of Asaram. He was arrested from Sarona Bazar in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
The officers said Karthik hadn’t taken any weapon training, one reason why four of his targets survived.
ATS SP Himanshu Shukla said. “He attended a satsang of Asaram in Delhi in 2000. He joined the Motera Ashram of Asaram on January 11, 2001. He said he was being helped financially by other sadhaks for the attacks on the witnesses. He named four sadhaks at different ashrams and said they were giving him instructions to commit offences against witnesses in these cases.”
Karthik , a sharp shooter, sourced ten country made pistols, seven pistols and 94 rounds from gun-runners in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
He killed Asaram’s personal physician Amrut Prajapati in June 2014, his assistant-cum-cook Akhil Gupta was fatally shot near his house in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh in January 2015 and another key witness, Kripal Singh, in July 2015 in different parts of the country.
Apart from these murders, Haldar was also involved in four cases of attempt to murder, including firing on Mahendra Chawla, personal assistant to Asaram between 2001 and 2005, was also shot at his house in May 2015 in Panipat in Haryana. In 2014, Lal Thakor, a resident of Chandkheda, was also attacked but he survived.
Haldar also shot eight rounds at the warden of Asaram’s Chhindwada-based ashram Omprakash Prajapati and his wife Seema, stated the release.