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Controversial godman held

A sexual assault complaint by a teenage girl led to the arrest of controversial godman Swami Amritha Chaitanya on Tuesday, reports Ramesh Babu.

india Updated: May 14, 2008 13:52 IST
Ramesh Babu

A sexual assault complaint by a teenage girl led to the arrest of controversial godman Swami Amritha Chaitanya on Tuesday.

As it turned out, the 35-year-old swami was wanted by the Interpol and Dubai police for fraud.

The swami, whose real name is Santhosh Madhavan, has been running a plush ashram at Vyppin, Kochi, for the past five years.

Kochi Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham said, "The girl filed a complaint saying the swami had sexually assaulted her a number of times. He was arrested immediately."

Police officers said that during the initial questioning Madhavan confessed to have raped at least eight
minor girls.

Police also seized pornographic films, a tiger skin, cocaine, a police uniform, and large quantities of imported liquor from the ashram.

Madhavan had been running charitable homes for poor girls and orphans. It has now emerged that he was sexually exploiting some of the girls as well.

Three cases have been registered against him, and more are likely to follow, Abraham said.

Born into a poor family at Kattapana in Idukki, Madhavan started his career as a temple priest. He shifted to Dubai in the late 1990s.

Fluent in many languages, he soon became the darling of those who blindly follow astrology and numerology. One such was Serafin Edwin who gave him 400,000 UAE dirhams (Rs 45 lakh) to buy a hotel in her name in Kerala. He vanished from her life as soon as he got the money.

The Kerala government has suspended Assistant Commissioner of Police Sam Christy Daniel for his alleged proximity to the swami.