NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday termed the conduct of the founder of a north Delhi-based ashram where girls were allegedly kept in illegal confinement as extremely suspicious and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to give a report on his whereabouts.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar prima facie found substance in the argument of a panel appointed by it that the ashram and its founder Virender Dev Dixit were making the girls housed there lodge false complaints against their family members.
It said these complaints against family members appear to have been lodged to dissuade them from pursuing cases against the ashram and Dixit.
The court said that while it will not interfere in any genuine, legitimate and honest spiritual activity, it will "not countenance any fraudulent or illegal activity".
The bench also said that the entire organisation was run and managed by Dixit and arguments to the contrary by the ashram's lawyer are "falsified" by information on the website as well as YouTube videos.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Foundation for Social Empowerment, which informed the court that several minors and women were allegedly being illegally confined at the "spiritual university" here and were not allowed to meet their parents.
On Wednesday, the CBI registered three cases in connection with alleged illegal confinement of girls and women, and rape at an ashram in Rohini here.
Acting on the orders of the Delhi High Court, the agency has also formed a three-member special investigation team headed by a superintendent-level officer to probe these matters.
According to the procedure, the CBI has taken over the probe into the three FIRs registered by Delhi Police at Vijay Vihar police station in Rohini by re-registering them, CBI officials said.
The two cases are against Dixit for alleged rape and criminal intimidation, while one case is against unidentified people for allegedly obstructing the work of a high court-appointed committee which went to the ashram on December 19, 2017.
The Delhi High Court had on December 20 directed the CBI to investigate the alleged illegal confinement of girls and women in the ashram where they were kept in "animal-like" conditions behind metal doors in a "fortress" surrounded by barbed wire.
The bench hearing the case had asked the CBI director to forthwith constitute a special investigation team (SIT) which will take charge of all the records and documents pertaining to the matter.
The court had asked the CBI to investigate the FIRs lodged in Delhi against the Rohini-based ashram and its founder-cum-spiritual head Dixit and the daily diary entries relating to complaints of missing girls, the commission of sexual offences and even a case of suicide there.