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5 more years of jail for bogus 'baba' in Britain

world Updated: Nov 12, 2016 21:56 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
faith healer

Mohammad Ashrafi, 51, was found guilty in 2015 of 14 counts of fraud involving 18 victims.(Leicestershire Police)

A bogus faith healer who called himself “Kamalji” and conned many in Britain, United States and Canada of hundreds of thousands of pounds by claiming to be in spiritual contact with Sai Baba, has had his nine-year prison sentence extended by five more years.

Mohammad Ashrafi, 51, was found guilty in 2015 of 14 counts of fraud involving 18 victims. At a confiscation hearing in Leicester Magistrates Court last week, five more years were added to his sentence after he failed to pay back £613,500 conned from his victims.

Ashrafi, based in Leicester, promised to cure illness, bring luck, love and lucre to people, some of whom took loans to pay him. He advertised his services in Leicestershire by radio and newspaper adverts and on flyers which were delivered door to door.

Sachdev Virdee of the Asian Rationalist Society Britain told Hindustan Times on Saturday: “I appeal to the Asian community that now is the time to wake up, think logically and understand that ‘tantrics’ and ‘babas’ have no more extraordinary powers  than what you have.”

He said the society’s challenge to such individuals to scientifically prove their extraordinary powers and win £100,000 had still not been taken up.

At the confiscation hearing, Ashrafi was reportedly asked why he had not paid off the cash or given proof of his efforts to raise the money by selling land in India, or by other means. He said: "I am in jail not in India and I have done a lot of effort," and also blamed the economic situation in India for his failure to pay off the outstanding amount.

He was told that the longer the debt remains, the larger it will grow, due to interest, and the more time he will have to serve in custody. The interest on the outstanding amount stands at £123.53 a day, he was told.