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Asaram Bapu supporters attack reporters

March 18, 2013 23:05 IST

A group of followers of Asaram Bapu on Monday allegedly assaulted mediapersons and damaged their equipment, as the controversial self-styled godman drew flak over wastage of water at a pre-Holi function organised by him in drought-hit Maharashtra.

While lawmakers raised the issue of Asaram and his followers "wasting" water at the event in Nagpur on Sunday in the Maharashtra legislature, Nagpur Municipal Corporation said it was sending a notice to him for misuse of water tankers provided by the civic body.

A social activist even approached the chief justice of Bombay high court to restrain Asaram and general public from wasting water during the Holi festival.

In the letter, Vishnu Gawli Gawli sought a direction to police to restrain Asaram from celebrating Holi following which a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A V Mohta asked him to file a proper public interest litigation on the issue.

Unhappy with the criticism, Asaram's followers pelted stones at television news channel reporters and assaulted them, damaging their video cameras. Three suspects have been detained and a probe is on, an officer at the Rabale police station said.

Raising the issue in the legislature, Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt said, "Asaram Bapu wasted lakhs of litres of water while celebrating Holi at the KasturchandPark in Nagpur. This happened at a time when the entire Maharashtra is reeling under a severe drought."

He sought action against those involved in the misuse of water.

Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said necessary instructions have been issued to concerned officials to avoid recurrence of the incident.

The issue was raised in the Assembly by MNS group leader Bala Nandgaonkar, who condemned the wastage of water when there is a severe drought the in the state.

Meanwhile, Nagpur Municipal Corporation standing committee chairman Avinash Thakre said, "a notice is being issued by NMC to him for water wastage."

The organisers had applied for three tankers of drinking water for the use of Asaram's disciples but it seemed it was used for pre-Holi celebrations, Thakre said.

The Godman has been mired in controversies and the ministry of corporate affairs said it has received complaints against him and his son in an alleged 700-acre land grabbing case and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office is looking into the matter.

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