Will issue warrant, HC warns Delhi ashram founder

New Delhi, Jan 4 : The Delhi High Court on Thursday warned the founder of an ashram, where girls and women were allegedly being kept in illegal confinement in the name of religious preaching, that it will issue a warrant against him if he doesn’t appear before it.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar also said it will direct the CBI to register kidnapping cases against Virendra Dev Dixit, the founder of the Rohini-based ashram Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya, if the girls rescued from there are found to be minors.

“Contain yourself (referring to Dixit) within the four corners of the law. Don’t resort to misuse of law. We will direct the CBI to register kidnapping cases if the children are found to be minor,” said the court.

The bench said the conduct of Dixit was “extremely suspicious” and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to give a report on his whereabouts within two weeks.

The court said: “We can’t believe in 21st Century, you (Dixit) will keep some human beings in such an inhuman condition…”

The committee appointed by the court to inspect the ashram said that Dixit and other ashram members were making the girls housed there lodge false complaints against their family members.

These complaints appear to have been lodged to dissuade the family members from pursuing cases against the ashram and Dixit, said the court.

Deepak Anthony D’Silva, a close aide of Dixit, appeared before the court and said that he has no clue about the present location of the Ashram’s founder. Earlier, when the bench sought whereabouts of Dixit, his counsel had told the court that he would get D’Silva before the court.

The CBI told the court that on Wednesday it has registered three cases against Dixit for allegedly keeping several women and minor girls hostage at his ashram here.

The court also asked the committee to file its response in the case before February 5, the next date of the hearing.

Earlier, the high court had transferred the case from the police to the CBI and asked the agency to forthwith set up a special investigation team to probe various FIRs of girls and women being allegedly lured into the ashram on the pretext of spiritual guidance but then being raped.

The committee had earlier told the court that the girls and women were kept in the ashram in “unhygienic and animal-like conditions with no privacy even for bathing”.

The court’s order came on a plea filed by NGO Foundation for Social Empowerment.