Temple priest, two posing as godmen arrested for rape

A 27-year-old priest of a temple in Rajkot has been arrested for allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulting a 37-year-old woman on the pretext of “ending her miseries”. The police said two other men Mumbai, who posed as godmen, had been arrested earlier, as they also allegedly raped the woman on the pretext of helping her get rid of “aghori atma”.

The accused have been identified as Mahant Gautamgiri Gosai from Rajkot as well as Swami Pranavanand Shukla and Hemant Joshi from Mumbai. While Shukla and Joshi were arrested on August 9, Gosai was arrested on Thursday.

A case was registered on charges of rape and cheating under the Indian Penal Code and Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013 on August 8 after the woman, a resident of Mumbai, approached the police claiming that she was being sexually assaulted by multiple men.

The police said the three accused gained confidence of the woman by telling her that she was possessed by “aghori atma” and that she would need to get intimate with them to get rid of it.

The woman, in her statement to the police, has said that she got married in 2002 and separated from her husband in 2003. “She again got married in 2009. As there were constant fights between her and her husband, she approached a self-proclaimed godman, Swami Pranavanand Shukla, in 2011 asking for a remedy,” said an officer.

“She was told that she was possessed and to get rid of the evil spirit, she would have to get intimate with Shukla.” Following this, the woman was raped multiple times by Shukla.

The police said that in 2015, Shukla introduced her to Joshi. “The woman said that Joshi had also raped her… On the suggestion of Shukla and Joshi, she would also go to Rajkot every month, where a priest of a temple, Mahant Gautamgiri Gosai, would rape her on the pretext of helping her,” the officer said.

The police said the woman was also forced into prostitution as she was told that it would help her in getting rid of the evil spirit.

“Shukla introduced her to a person named Chintransh Chinkhi, who would send her to different locations across the country for prostitution. She was told to hand over all the money to Shukla,” said the officer.

The police said that a businessman offered to help her and gave her Rs 35 lakh after hearing her ordeal, but the money was taken away by Shukla.

In August, when the woman realised that her problems are yet to be resolved despite tolerating abuse for around 10 years, she lodged a complaint with the police.


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