Unfortunate reality that people knock on doors of tantriks for solutions: Bombay High Court on sexual assault case

The court also upheld the life sentence imposed on the 45-year-old man, who claimed to be a tantrik.
Last Updated 02 March 2024, 07:21 IST

Mumbai: It is an unfortunate reality of our times that people knock on the doors of tantriks/babas for solutions to their problems, the Bombay High Court has said while upholding the conviction of a man for sexually assaulting six intellectually-challenged girls.

The high court, in its judgment passed last month but made available on Saturday, also upheld the life sentence imposed on the 45-year-old man, who claimed to be a tantrik.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Manjusha Deshpande said this was a "bizarre case of blind faith" and the accused does not deserve any leniency.

The prosecution's case is that the accused, who claims to be a tantrik/baba, sexually exploited six intellectually-challenged girls on the pretext of curing them. He also allegedly financially exploited the girls' parents and took Rs 1.30 crore from them under the garb of curing the minors.

The first information report (FIR) in this connection was registered in 2010. A sessions court convicted the man in 2016 and sentenced him to life imprisonment for the remainder of his life. The man filed an appeal in the high court, challenging the sessions court order.

The high court dismissed his appeal and upheld the conviction and sentence, noting that this was a not a case where the sentence should be reduced.

"The facts are gross, and the girls too many, and as such the sentence must be commensurate with the acts committed," the HC said. "This is one such bizarre case of blind faith. It is an unfortunate reality of our times, that people, at times knock on the doors of so called tantriks/babas, for a solution to their problems and that these so-called tantriks/babas, take advantage of the vulnerability and blind faith of these people and exploit them," the court said. The so-called tantriks/babas not only exploit their vulnerability by extracting money from them, but also many a time, sexually assault the victims under the guise of providing solutions, it added.

The bench in its order said the prosecution has duly proved through the evidence of the victims and their parents, the complicity of the accused vis-a-vis sexual assault on the victims.

(Published 02 March 2024, 07:21 IST)

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