By A Correspondent
New Delhi: Penguin has announced the release of God of Sin: The Cult, The Clout and Downfall of Asaram Bapu by Ushinor Majumdar.
The book faced opposition and its publication was challenged in court. The court has refused to stay publication and has allowed the book to be released. Overcoming these challenges, the book will now be available in retail and online stores from Saturday (December 15) onwards.
Penguin Random House India said: “We are delighted that the court decided in favour of the book and we look forward to making the book available to our readers.”
For decades, Asaram Bapu presided over a politically influential empire built on blind faith. Along with his son and heir, Narayan Sai, he has now become an example of everything that is wrong with self-styled godmen and the cults they spawn. The two stand accused of sexual assaults on vulnerable devotees, land grabbing, money laundering, intimidation, exploitative black magic rituals and the horrific murder of witnesses who testified against them. Politically, Asaram Bapu held significant boroughs of influence across north India and the Hindi belt, and there are photos of him with almost every known political leader throughout the 1990s and 2000s, till his arrest in a sexual assault case in 2013.
Asaram originated the business model of branding goods and selling them to followers, using faith as a marketing tool-which other godmen emulated to great success. His commercial empire, now being investigated by economic offences agencies, was built on unaccounted donations, loans given on hefty rates of interest, investments in dubious companies, money laundering and dodgy real estate deals.
God of Sin pieces together Asaram’s journey to spiritual godhood, his fall from grace and the long and arduous road to bring him to justice.
About the Author:
Since February 2015, Ushinor Majumdar has worked with Outlook as investigative journalist (special correspondent) in the New Delhi bureau, where he covers the courts and judiciary, internal security and current affairs. He has in the past worked at Tehelka and Hindustan Times, where he covered traditional governance beats, left-wing extremism, minerals-based conflict, development, business stories and features. Since 2015, he is an invitee to the Global Investigative Journalism Network – a global grid of investigative journalists that meets once a year and collaborates for the rest of it.