The parents of two young women, who had accused the founder of Shifu Sunkriti of luring girls into a sex and drugs racket, on Monday sought that charges of rape be pressed against group leader Sunil Kulkarni. While posting the matter for Tuesday, the Bombay High Court said it would direct the DCP of the Crime Branch to monitor further investigations into the matter and consider if the allegations made by the parents could be considered.
A bench of Justice R M Savant and Justice Sandeep Shinde said: “With further investigations going on, the DCP, Crime Branch, can look into the allegations made in the application and also monitor the investigations.”
Kulkarni was arrested by the Mumbai Police in April this year on charges of trafficking, cheating and forgery after the couple from Malad approached the Bombay High Court claiming that their daughters, both in their early twenties, had been “trapped” by Kulkarni’s group Shifu Sunkriti that operates on social media.
The probe was later transferred to the Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch. The petitioners’ counsel, advocate Sandesh Patil, however, told the court that the Crime Branch’s investigation was “unsatisfactory, for it had failed to charge Kulkarni under Section 376 of the IPC despite having witness statements to the effect”. Patil demanded that either the Crime Branch be directed by the court to “re-investigate or conduct a further probe into the case” or the probe be “transferred to the CBI”.
Patil said: “The section for rape was not included in the FIR because the girls had testified that they had willingly joined the cult and participated in its activities. However, such testimony was given to the police while the girls were under the influence of drugs. Thus, the probe authorities must disregard the testimony.” The Crime Branch, however, told the court that it was “already conducting a further probe” into the case and sought a day’s time to inform the court about the details.
The petitioners had claimed that the two young women, who were “regular college students and working professionals, were enticed” by Kulkarni and “forced into drugs”. The women had denied the claims.