Ahmedabad: Gujarat ATS have arrested a man, who is suspected of killing three key witnesses in the rape case filed against the self-styled godman Asaram bapu and his son Narayan Sai.
Kartik Haldar, a resident of South 24 Pargana district in West Bengal, was arrested by Gujarat ATS in a joint operation with Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch from Raipur in Chattisgarh.
"He was a disciple of Asaram and considered him as his god. He believed that he must do any possible thing to secure Asaram's release, especially by eliminating his opponents," ATS chief J.K. Bhatt told the media while addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad.
According to the ATS chief, Haldar told the officials that ‘sadhaks’ of Asaram had instructed him to kill these witnesses in order to weaken the cases against the religious leader.
Haldar also told the police that he was funded by some of the sadhaks located in various parts of the country to carry out the task, ATS chief stated.
The officials further claimed that Haldar was involved in the killings of Asaram’s personal doctor Amrut Prajapati in June 2014, his assistant-cum-cook Akhil Gupta in January 2015 and another key witness, Kripal Singh, in July 2015 in different parts of the country.
While Prajapati was shot dead by Haldar at his dispensary in Rajkot, Gupta was fatally shot by the accused near his house in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh.
The accused then targeted Singh, who used to work as a clerk in the office of a transporter whose minor daughter had lodged a case of sexual assault against Asaram in Jodhpur and was the prime witness in that case.
Apart from these, Haldar was also involved in four cases of attempt to murder, including firing on Asaram’s former personal assistant Mahendra Chawla in June last year at Panipat in Haryana.
(With agency inputs)