Controversial religious Sant Shri AsaRam Ji Bapu has again pleaded his inability to appear in person for deposition before the Commission of Enquiry probing the mysterious death of two teenagers studying in a Gurukul run by him in 2008 and suggested his statement could be recorded through video conferencing.
In an application to Justice (Retired) D K Trivedi heading the Commission of Enquiry, Asaram has said that the Commission either appoint a representative to record his statement or chairman himself could come to his Ashram in Sabarmati or it should be recorded by video conferencing.
The Commission had many times issued summons to Asaram along with his son Narayan Sai, to appear before the panel for cross-examination. However, the father-son duo always sought more time for different reasons and delayed their appearance before the Commission till date.
Trivedi Commission, which is probing the death of cousins Dipesh Vaghela and Abhishek Vaghela, has scheduled the hearing on Asaram's application on October 23.
Asaram, in a detailed application sent through his advocate B M Gupta, cited two major incidents of violence where riots broke out between his followers and public in July, 2008 immediately after the death of two boys and in 2009 during a rally of his followers in Gandhinagar.
"...So it is not desirable for me to appear before the Commission in person for deposition, and the purpose of personal appearance can be achieved by other ways also," said Asaram in his application.
He has also expressed fear that there was a possibility of violence by anti-social elements if he is cross-examined by the Commission and offered to bear the cost of Commission's visit to his ashram or video-conferencing.
Gujarat government had set up the Commission in July 2008 amid public furor after the two cousins were found dead on the bed of Sabarmati river. Both of them were resident students of the Ashram.
Their parents have alleged that the two boys were killed due to practice of 'black magic' by Asaram and he was directly responsible for taking their life.
The Commission was asked to probe the facts and circumstances leading to the death of two boys and also to recommend suitable measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents.