A cult’s leader was arrested in Mumbai on Thursday after the high court heard petitions filed by families who alleged that the group had “ensnared” their daughters and pushed them into drugs.
Sunil Kulkarni, who heads Shifu Sunkriti and allegedly poses as a psychiatrist, was charged at the Malad police station under laws relating to trafficking, cheating, obscenity and violation of the Information Technology Act.
The high court on Wednesday heard petitions by three couples who alleged Kulkarni had lured their daughters — four women in their twenties — into taking drugs and made them leave their homes. The couples claimed that their daughters were refusing to come back home because Shifu Sunkriti, which operates on social media, had entrapped them.
The couples’ lawyer told the court on Wednesday they had complained to the police against the cult twice last year but no action was taken. A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai then pulled up the police for not acting against Kulkarni.
“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 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,” More said.
“We have registered an FIR and the unit 9 of the crime branch has taken custody of the accused. The matter will be investigated by crime branch officials,” said an officer at the Malad police station after arresting Kulkarni.