According to Sant Asaramji ki Jeevan Jhanki, Asaram returned to Ahmedabad on 8 July 1971. On 29 January 1972, he built a hut at Motera, then a village on the banks of the Sabarmati. Although his official biography doesn’t mention it, Asaram also lived in Motera’s Sadashiv Ashram for two years, before setting up his own hut adjacent to it. He converted his hutment into an ashram in 1973, starting with 5–10 followers. In 1981 and 1992, the Indian National Congress-led state government allotted the ashram 14,515 m2 land. In 1997 and 1999, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government allotted it 25,000 m2 for expansion. Asaram had few followers in the beginning, but the numbers increased as local politicians became his devotees.
By 2013, Asaram had 400 major and minor ashrams in India and abroad, with numerous followers.
In 2000, Asaram’s ashram was allocated about 10 acres (4 ha) of land in Bhairavi village of Navsari district by the Gujarat government. The ashram encroached on an additional 6 acres (2 ha), leading to protests in the local villages. On a complaint filed by locals, and after repeated notices were ignored, the district authorities with police assistance bulldozed the encroachments and took possession of the land.
On 8 January 2010, the Gujarat government took over 67,059 m2 of land from Asaram’s Ahmedabad ashram, stating that the ashram had encroached on it. The government also took over 70 acres of agricultural land bought by Asaram’s family inSabarkantha, arguging that the family had forged papers to show themselves as farmers.1 2 3 4 5