The Delhi High Court today ordered inspection of an ashram run by absconding self-styled spiritual preacher Virender Dev Dixit where several girls and women were allegedly held in illegal confinement in the national capital.

The bench headed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, while dealing with a petition by the mother of a woman who was stated to be residing in the ashram -- Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidhyalaya -- under the influence of some persons, observed there were serious allegations of rape against Dixit, and asked the State to file a status report in the matter.

The counsel for the CBI said two FIRs were lodged against Dixit for alleged rape and all efforts were being made to apprehend him.

"Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidhyalaya is having only five girls including respondent no 6 (the daughter). Since there is an FIR under serious offence against the in-charge, we hereby direct the State to inspect the said ashram along with SDM and DCP concerned. Fresh status report be filed," the bench, also comprising Justice Manoj Jain, ordered.

The woman's daughter was produced before the court which was told she was an adult aged 18 years who was residing in the ashram of her own accord.

The Court listed the case for further hearing on January 24 and asked the petitioner's daughter not to leave the ashram in the meantime.

It also asked the State to produce her on the next date of hearing.

Besides the present case, there are two other cases pending in the high court involving Dixit's ashram, including the petition by an aged couple alleging their "highly educated daughter" was misled into living there and was harbouring "overvalued ideas".

In 2017, NGO Foundation for Social Empowerment had also filed a plea alleging that several minor girls and women were being illegally confined at Dixit's "spiritual university" -- Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidhyalaya, Rohini and were not allowed to meet their parents.

The High Court had earlier asked the CBI to track down Dixit and directed the agency to probe alleged illegal confinement of girls and women in the ashram.

The CBI had then assured the high court that all efforts were being made to ascertain the whereabouts of Dixit and that raids were carried out at his farm houses and ashrams and special teams were constituted to arrest him.

On September 12 last year, the court had said the CBI was free to freeze the bank accounts of Dixit.

With PTI Inputs