The Mumbai Police has claimed to have found nude pictures of several girls on the mobile phone of Sunil Kulkarni, leader of Shifu Sunkriti, alleged to be a cult luring young men and women. Kulkarni was arrested on Thursday. The police is attempting to ascertain the identity of the girls in the photographs.
The Mumbai Police Crime Branch, which is investigating the case, has accused Kulkarni of luring men and women aged between 18 and 25 years through obscene content on his website and then hypnotising them. Kulkarni, the police claim, posed as a psychologist and offered consultancy positions to two women from Malad, whose parents later petitioned the Bombay High Court, and at least two other boys. The parents of one of the boys approached the crime branch on Thursday. The police is mulling whether to register a second FIR against Kulkarni.
Kulkarni was arrested on Thursday after the high court ordered the police to file an FIR. He was booked for drugging the girls using sedatives, trafficking them for sexual exploitation and spreading obscenity though books and pornographic material, apart from several sections of the Information Technology Act.
He (54) was produced at the Esplanade court on Thursday and remanded in police custody until April 28. The crime branch raided his Bandra home and claimed to have found several CDs and a pen drive filled with obscene and pornographic content. A senior crime branch officer said the CDs contained images of partially and completely nude girls and others showing them in sexual positions. “We are sure that pictures of the Malad siblings are not among the images,” said a senior crime branch official.
The search of the house also yielded doses of antidepressant Tryptom 10 mg, which they suspect Kulkarni administered to youngsters. The police also found more of the medicine in his wallet.
Public prosecutor Rajendra Suryanvanshi told the magistrate’s court that Kulkarni’s actions “affected society”. Kulkarni, meanwhile, without a defence attorney, argued for himself.
The police also seized letterheads bearing a list of academic degrees and are investigating whether Kulkarni actually holds any of them. “He claims to be a PhD in psychology from a university in Nagpur. We have investigated and found that it it not so,” the officer said.
The police is also in the process of verifying whether Kulkarni actually served as a visiting faculty member at Mithibai College and Praveen Gandhi College of Law in Vile Parle.
The police will summon the women to record their statements. Kulkarni has not yet been booked for sexual assault. According to the police, one of the siblings confided in a friend that she had engaged in sexual intercourse with Kulkarni. While Kulkarni primarily operated out of Bandra, the police has found he was booked by the Delhi police for allegedly raping a minor and had received bail in that case.
The police also sought time from the court on Thursday to go though Kulkarni’s posts on his social networking profiles. In one Facebook post, one of the Malad siblings is seen meeting sexologist and columnist Dr Mahendra Watsa. The woman was described in the post as Kulkarni’s secretary. “We will look into the context for these meetings,” the official said.
In court, Kulkarni said in Marathi, “They (prosecution and police) have only given basic background. I request the court to also look into the cases in Borivali court that have been filed against the parents.”
Additional chief metropolitan magistrate R K Deshpande remanded Kulkarni to police custody up to April 28.