CBI to probe case of girls kept captive

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An alleged victim had stated in the court that the people at the ashram tried to brainwash girls and women and sexually assaulted them under the pretext of religious acts.

The committee also sought age verification of the inmates alleging that majority, according their appearance, seemed to be minors.

Delhi Commission for Women's chief Swati Maliwal, who had accompanied the police to inspect the place, said tweeted saying barbed wire fenced the terraces of the heavily-fortified building, and not even a bird could enter or leave the place.

The police had arrested the Baba named Virender Dev upon the inspection done by the team constituted by the ACJ bench Delhi High Court.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar, noting that an ashram can not work under a "shroud of secrecy", asked CBI Director Alok Verma to forthwith set up a special investigation team to probe various FIRs of girls and women being allegedly lured into the ashram in Rohini area on the pretext of spiritual guidance but then being raped.

During the hearing, the court also questioned the spirituality imparted at the ashram and the claim of its lawyer that the women and girls were there on their own free will.

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"Where is he? This inquiry (by the CBI) into the ashram, where the female inmates were allegedly kept in illegal confinement will throw him in suspicion, if he doesn't appear", the bench said and demanded his appearance before the investigating agency.

The counsel for the ashram, however, told the bench that its founder was not in Delhi and he has sent the message about the court's order through someone else. "Why are you controlling, how they should dress?"

Earlier, a Non-government organisation, Foundation for Social Empowerment had informed the court that several minors and women were allegedly confined illegally at the "spiritual university" here and were not allowed to meet their parents. "Why does your ashram look like a fortress and why are there metal doors, grills and locks at every five feet interval", the bench asked.

According to an aged inmate of the ashram, who spoke to tejh media: "What we were doing is actually kanyadan, which is a holy matter and that was the only thing that was going on".

The bench also asked the committee appointed by it to inspect eight other similar centres being run by Dixit in the national capital after the existence of these places was brought to the court's attention.