Bhole Baba: How did a UP constable turn into wealthy godman living life king size?

His name does not even figure among the accused in the FIR relating to the Hathras stampede, with police authorities shying away from a direct reply over his role in the tragedy.
Relatives mourn at the residence of three family members who died in the recent stampede at the 'satsang' of Baba Narayan Hari alias Saakar Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba in Hathras
Relatives mourn at the residence of three family members who died in the recent stampede at the 'satsang' of Baba Narayan Hari alias Saakar Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba in HathrasPhoto | PTI

LUCKNOW: The self-styled godman Bhole Baba, whom lakhs had flocked to see ahead of the tragic stampede which claimed 121 lives in Hathras on Tuesday, is yet to land in the police net. His name does not even figure among the accused in the FIR, with police authorities shying away from a direct reply over his role in the tragedy saying that he will be interrogated if required.

Suraj Pal Jatav, 65, who is today’s Bhole Baba, spreads the message of ‘Manav Dharma’ in his Satsang Sabhas. But he owns around two dozen ashrams across UP and neighbouring states, a fleet of luxury vehicles, assets running into crores and a personal army of security guards and commandos, claim sources familiar with him.

The Shri Narayan Hari Sakar Charitable Trust looks after the fortunes of Bhole Baba but the sources of his possessions are not clear as he has a following mostly among the deprived and downtrodden sections.

Unlike many other spiritual preachers, sources say that Bhole Baba usually sports a white three-piece suit, tie and trendy, upmarket specs. He moves in a convoy of multiple four wheelers led by 16 commandos in black uniform riding 350 cc motorcycles clearing the path for his escort. Bhole Baba always travels in a white Toyota Fortuner.

The Sewadars wear a light pink uniform and carry batons. In fact, people at the Satsang Sabha in Hathras claimed that the Sewadars were baton charging the crowd after the event when women rushed towards Bhole Baba for his blessings leading to the stampede. The sources also claim that the sewadars have the preacher’s standing order not to let people take photos or videos of him.

Relatives mourn at the residence of three family members who died in the recent stampede at the 'satsang' of Baba Narayan Hari alias Saakar Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba in Hathras
Overcrowding, Bhole Baba's bodyguards blamed in FIR as Hathras stampede toll rises to 121

To become a sewadar in Baba’s trust, one has to go through a formal process of selection. Once appointed, sewadars get remuneration, food and a dwelling within the ashram, claim the sources.

The Baba stays in his Bichuva Ashram in Mainpuri district. Spread over sprawling 21 bighas and named Hari Nagar, six rooms inside the expansive Ashram are reserved for Bhole Baba and his wife Malti Devi. The Mainpuri ashram, with a huge board at the entrance displaying the names of 200 donors who contributed from Rs 10,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh towards the construction of the facility, had come up three years ago and is the permanent base of the preacher.

Sources close to Baba claim that he has 24 ashrams spread across various parts of UP and other states. However, the Shri Narayan Hari Sakar Charitable Trust was set up only last year and it oversees operations of other ashrams like the ones in Kanpur’s Bidhnu, Etawah and Patiyali in Kasganj. He also owns a property in Kedar Nagar, Agra.

However, it is still a puzzle how a UP police constable with modest means has accumulated so much of wealth.

Relatives mourn at the residence of three family members who died in the recent stampede at the 'satsang' of Baba Narayan Hari alias Saakar Vishwa Hari Bhole Baba in Hathras
Hathras tragedy: Asphyxia, internal bleeding main causes of deaths, shows autopsy

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