The Bombay high court on Friday granted interim anticipatory bail to self-styled godwoman Radhe Maa in a dowry harassment case, within hours of the 50-year-old guru appearing for questioning by Mumbai police in the matter.
The court granted interim bail to her for two weeks on the ground that another accused in the same case has already been given the same relief. Radhe Maa has to be submit Rs 20,000 as bond and be present at Kandivali police station on August 19 and 26 from 11am to 1pm.
On Thursday, a local court had denied anticipatory bail to her in the case filed by 32-year-old Nikki Gupta, who has accused the godwoman of instigating her husband and in-laws for dowry. Radhe Maa is among seven accused named in the case.
The case is the latest in a string of controversies to engulf the godwoman who has lakhs of followers around the country.
Advocate Abad Ponda, appearing for Radhe Maa, said the other six accused in the case were her family members and were granted anticipatory bail by the sessions court. Ponda argued Radhe Maa, the seventh accused, should also be granted bail.
Ponda also brought to the notice of the court that the complainant in the case had filed a case of cruelty against her husband and family two years back in a family court. Ponda added Radhe Maa's name was not mentioned in that case and that her name mentioned in this case was an afterthought.
Read: Radhe Maa's website hacked, her photos in miniskirt posted
Radhe Maa was thrust into the spotlight after photographs of her in a red miniskirt and matching boots went viral on social media. She has, however, defended her dress saying it was given her by a devotee, and claimed she was “pious and pure”.
Born Sukhwinder Kaur, Radhe Maa was earlier questioned by police shortly after she arrived at the Kandivali police station in her white Fortuner car driven by the CEO of an advertising agency.
Mostly seen with a trident in her hands, Radhe Maa was seen carrying a rose when she arrived at the police station at around 12.10 pm. She was accompanied by three other people in the car.
With hundreds of her followers congregating out the police station, security personnel barricaded the area. Two assistant commissioners of police (ACP) led the security.
Outside the police station gates, Radhe Maa supporters stood wearing red bands.
A supporter who claimed to have come with Radhe Maa from Walkeshwar said they are positive that she will get out of this situation. Several women supporters were spotted carrying prayer beads.
“We are all much stressed and not in a state to talk to anyone. We are praying for her,” said a follower who did not want to be named.
A lawyer Falguni Brahmbhatt too had lodged a separate complaint with Borivali police earlier this month alleging that Radhe Maa is running a business in the name of religion and misleading innocent people and she should be booked for obscenity.
Television actress Dolly Bindra on Thursday submitted a written application to the Malad police, alleging that she has been getting threatening calls from followers of Radhe Maa and Asaram, another self-styled godman who is behind bars for alleged rape. Bindra, who has also received threatening messages on social networking sites, has asked the police to provide security to her and her family.
A journalist on Thursday forwarded a written application to the airport police station which claims that Radhe Maa carried a trishul on board a flight, and requested the police to file an FIR against her.
Senior inspector B Mukhedkar of the airport police said he had received the application, but said no offence has been registered as officers of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which handles airport security, have not brought any such incident to his notice.