Monday, November 24, 2014

At Rampal's Ashram, Weapons and Commando Uniforms Found in Lockers

At Rampal's Ashram, Weapons and Commando Uniforms Found in Lockers 
From arrested guru Rampal's ashram in Haryana, the police have found weapons, cash, bullet-proof jackets and commando uniforms stashed in lockers.

63-year-old Rampal was on Sunday taken to his "Satlok ashram" in Hisar for the first time since his arrest last Wednesday, and questioned about the cache of weapons, which include four .315 bore rifles, five .12 bore guns and some cartridges. Bullet-proof vehicles were also found, the police said.

The self-styled 'godman' was taken around the complex as lockers and cupboards were opened in the presence of a magistrate.

Senior police officer AK Rao said Rampal was questioned on the bullet-proof jackets and commando uniforms. He was asked whether he and his followers - who call themselves 'Baba's commandos' - were preparing for an offensive against the police. "It could be that or it could also be the fact that they were apprehensive about some threat (police action)," Mr Rao said.

Rampal was arrested in a raid on his ashram after a 12-day stand-off between thousands of his followers and policemen. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered his arrest after he repeatedly ignored summons in a murder case.

He was sent to police custody for five days.

Rampal has skipped court hearings over 40 times.

Searches on his 12-acre ashram complex have revealed that the guru had a fleet of luxury cars, a swimming pool, flat-screen TVs, split air-conditioners, massage tables and gym equipment that included high-end treadmills.

Rampal, a former engineer who describes himself as an incarnation of the 15th-century mystic poet Kabir and has lakhs of followers, lived in a five-storey house in one part of the ashram complex.

Before being arrested, Rampal ensured that most rooms and areas of his luxury home were sealed with plywood and had locks on the doors.

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