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Gunning for the Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction by Ajay Lamba, Sanjeev Mathur

Publisher: Harper Collins India
Pages: 210
Price: Rs. 499 INR(Paperback)
ISBN: 978–9353578084
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2GGXEFi

My take on the book:

Gunning for the Godman is the true story of the conviction of Asaram Bapu, starting from the time a complaint has been filed by the victim to the time the court pronounced its judgement. The book starts by giving a brief summary of Asaram’s entire life, from the time he was born, his younger years, personal life, his rise in later years as a famous saint and the reach of his Ashrams and followers. The book has been written by Ajay Lamba(IPS) the then DCP(West) of Jodhpur who headed the investigation team hence the book is a first-hand account of all the happenings.

In August 2013, a young girl studying twelfth standard in one of the schools run by Asaram and housed at the Gurukul hostel, was taken for treatment to the Godman after her hostel warden convinced her as under the influence of evil spirits. On the pretext of treatment, she was sexually assaulted and raped by the Godman; her parents who were staunch followers of Asaram, soon lodge a complaint after realizing the injustice that happened to their daughter. As soon as the details of the case are shared, the DCP springs into action and in the next ten days, the Jodhpur police arrested Asaram at his Indore ashram.

The book details the meticulous planning and execution that was required by the police force to arrest such a high-profile personality who had thousands of followers and important connections in the political circles. Starting from selecting and forming multiple teams, assigning respective tasks, coordinating these teams, briefing the media daily , handling hostile followers— DCP Ajay recollects how this herculean task was successfully accomplished as his team even worked without a break for forty-eight hours before the arrest.

The struggle of the investigating team does not end with filing the charge sheet and submitting all the evidences in the court, as most of the team are transferred before the court proceedings are complete and multiple hurdles are created as the case is taken to closure. The author reminisces the innumerable threats to himself, family and the team who were deployed on the task and what kept him going in the middle of extreme challenges. Since the book is narrated by the person who headed the entire investigation, even the minute details of this case are captured while not dragging the pace.

The author impresses with a balanced outlook, by not glorifying either the crime or the accomplishments of his team. The judicial details of the case like the IPC Sections involved, evidences, co-accused are also detailed which make the book an authentic account. As common people we quickly judge the police force as biased and controlled by the politicians, but this case proves when the people upholding the law and order of the country perform their duty honestly despite the million hurdles, the stature and clout of the accused does not matter at the end.

A true crime account that is narrated with utmost sincerity, this book is a must read if you are intrigued to know what went behind the conviction of one of the most popular godman of the country.

This review is part of the Blogchatter Book Review Program. https://www.theblogchatter.com/book-review-program-from-blogchatter

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