Ashok was a pillar of consistency as he fired seven birdies and an eagle against a couple of bogeys to total 16-under 200 at the DLF golf and Country Club here.
Defending champion Bhullar had an erratic round as both birdies and bogeys flew from his club. The Punjab lad picked up four birdies against a couple of bogeys and a double bogey to slip one place to the second spot.
Breathing down his neck by one stroke was Anirban Lahiri with a two-under 70 and one stroke further behind is the duo of C Muniyappa and Ajeetesh Sandhu at six-under 210 at tied fourth.
Two-time winner Jyoti Radhawa and Himmat Singh Rai dropped down the leaderboard after carding rounds of 73 and 74 to share the sixth spot with four others.
With rain god staying away and sun shining brightly, Ashok made good use of his club and picked up four birdies in a blemish-free front nine to take the turn at four-under.
He added another birdie at the 10th but came unstuck at the 12th with a bogey. He picked up two more strokes at the 13th and 16th before stumbling at a bogey in the 17th.
But the Bihar golfer ended the day on a high with a 20ft putter eagle at the last hole.
"I am very happy with my game. A 65 for the second time shows that I am hitting the ball well. I have planned my day well," Ashok said.
"I had a 30ft putt at the third hole for a birdie, which was my longest for the day. Rest were around 4 to 5 ft putts. The eagle in the 18th was also a good one and was around 20ft putt from the fringes," he said.
At the 17th hole, Ashok made an error in judgement when his tee shot landed at the rough and he had to take a drop.
"My tee shot was all right but I should have taken the drop a little right. I had a mistakes and my shot hit the tree and eventually I bogeyed. At the 12th I had a good drive at the centre edge but missed the putt," he said.
Ashok said he would continue playing his normal game and won't do anything stupid.
"I will play my normal game. I should not be over aggressive and do something stupid. I would be just playing against the course not against any body else," said Ashok.
While Ashok rose, Bhullar suffered from inconsistency and he birdied the second and fourth but a double bogey at the fifth hole brought him back to square one and was one-over with a bogey at the eighth before ending the front nine at level par with a birdie at the ninth.
His resumption was equally erratic as he dropped shots at the 13th and 14th to go two-over but the Indian signed off with a birdie at the last home to stay eight strokes behind the leader.
"I started off well and was two under after four holes but on the fifth had a bad swing and dropped a double. I was hitting OK but just couldn't putt," said Bhullar before walking away, knowing fully well that it would take only a miracle to win from now.
Among others, Shamim Khan (69), Mukesh Kumar (74), Rahil Gangjee (73), SSP Chowrasia (75) at tied 11th and 13th, 24th and 30th respectively.