Taking note of complaints by three couples that their daughters “were being ensnared by a cult”, the Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday directed the state police to register an FIR and take “serious efforts” to trace the prime accused.
The bench was hearing a petition alleging the women, in their early twenties, were trapped by an alleged cult group Shifu Sunkriti, which operates on social media. The plea, filed through advocates Sandesh Patil and Varsha Bhogle, claimed the “cult” is run by Sunil Kulkarni, who claims to be a doctor and psychiatrist. The Indian Medical Association and other authorities have confirmed Kulkarni is not a licensed doctor or psychiatrist, states the plea.
The petitioners claim Kulkarni forced the women into drugs. Addicted to drugs, the women left their homes to join Kulkarni and are refusing to come back, states the plea.
Patil told the court the parents approached the police in December last year and later too, but no action was taken.
A bench of justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai slammed the police for failing to take timely action and giving “time” to the accused to flee. “The first thing the police need to do is lodge an FIR, after which they should trace the accused. This looks like a big racket and should be stopped. If the police are unable to take appropriate action, we will ask the CID or CBI to step in and take over the probe. The police and the state are giving us the impression that it is not serious in its probe,” justice More said.
“How can the police take such serious cases so casually? The police cannot express helplessness in such serious cases. It is apparently a sex and drugs racket and the police are taking it very lightly knowing fully well that several girls and boys are trapped,” the bench said.
The HC is likely to hear the case on April 25.