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‘5-Star’ Ashram On Land Worth 4 Crores: Documents Detail Bhole Baba’s Wealth

‘5-Star’ Ashram On Land Worth 4 Crores: Documents Detail Bhole Baba’s Wealth

The ‘godman’ has blamed “anti-social elements” for the tragedy.


A day after the stampede in Hathras in which 121 people were killed, most of them women, children and the elderly, more details are coming out about the self-styled godman, Bhole Baba aka Narayan Saakar Hari, at the centre of the tragedy. Within hours of the revelation that the guru had cases of sexual assault against him, officials said on Wednesday that they have seized documents detailing a portion of his immense wealth, including a 13-acre “five-star” ashram in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri.

The land of the ashram alone is valued at Rs 4 crore. 

The documents show that Mainpuri ashram, spread over 21 bighas, has several rooms, all of which have amenities akin to those at a five-star hotel. The ‘godman’, whose original name is Suraj Pal, has not been named in the lone case registered in connection with the stampede and is believed to be living in the ashram, where six rooms are earmarked for him. Another six rooms are set aside for committee members and volunteers in his organisation.

The luxurious facilities don’t end there. Not only does the ashram have a private road but also a state-of-the-art cafeteria. 

Pal has claimed that the land for the ashram was gifted to him three to four years ago but the documents reveal that he has several other properties worth crores. Many of these properties are ashrams in other places in the country.

‘Anti-Social Elements’

Tuesday’s stampede, which led to the deaths of 121 people, including at least seven children, occurred at a ‘satsang’ (religious event) organised by Pal and his organisation in Phulrai village under Sikandra Rao police station limits in Hathras. Police said permission had been given for 80,000 people but 2.5 lakh had gathered for the event. When Pal was leaving in his car, a crowd rushed to collect the dust left in its wake, thinking of it as a blessing.

In a bid to control the crowd, the volunteers and others in charge of security from Pal’s organisation, began pushing people back. Several devotees fell around an embankment and were crushed by the crowd. Amid the chaos, other attendees began running, triggering a stampede. 

Issuing a brief statement on Wednesday after maintaining silence since the stampede, Pal expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said he will take legal action against “anti-social elements” that were allegedly behind the tragedy. 

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, “I spoke to some of the witnesses… they said that during the ‘satsang’, when women wanted to touch the godman’s feet, a sea of people pushed forward and his security pushed back. Then they tried to cover up the issue… And, when people were being taken to hospitals, the security team ran away,” he said.

Pal, who was born in Etah and was a head constable in the Uttar Pradesh Police before choosing the godman’s path, also has many cases against him and has faced several allegations of sexual assault. The cases are registered in Agra, Etawah, Kasganj, Farrukhabad, and Rajasthan.

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