Sunil Kulkarni, the founder of the controversial Shifu Sunkriti who is alleged to have brainwashed two Malad-based sisters and given them anti-depressant drugs, had made an attempt to wriggle out of an earlier case in which he was jailed by the Delhi Police in 2016 for raping a 17-year-old girl. The Mumbai police had arrested him — on a complaint from the parents of the two sisters — for allegedly running a sex racket in the guise of Shifu Sunkriti.
A chargesheet was filed against Kulkarni last week. According to the police, Kulkarni, posing as a visiting faculty to top private educational institutions in Delhi and Noida, had befriended the Delhi girl in 2014 after promising to get her a job as an actor in Mumbai.
According to an FIR registered at Vasant Kunj North police station in Delhi in 2015, Kulkarni persuaded the girl’s parents to allow her to accompany him to Mumbai where he claimed he would help her get acting roles in films.
Instead of helping her to be an actor, he allegedly raped her multiple times. According to the girl’s complaint, Kulkarni confined her to an apartment in Vasant Kunj where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her. In August 2015, the girl’s complaint states, Kulkarni took her to Mumbai, where they stayed in an apartment in Lokhandwala, Andheri West.
The police said Kulkarni raped the girl there too before moving base to an apartment in Andheri East, where he kept her confined for six months before finally taking her back to Delhi in July 2016, warning her not to tell her parents about the sexual assault.
During that period, the police said, Kulkarni introduced the girl to several people but an acting role never materialised. A few days after returning home, Kulkarni again allegedly took the girl to an apartment in Kishangarh village in Delhi’s outskirts and allegedly raped her again. The girl told the police that she escaped and lodged a police complaint. Kulkarni was booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and later sent to Tihar Jail.
In jail, Kulkarni met a driver who was called by jail authorities to teach inmates to use a charkha. The driver, who has been made a witness by the crime branch, became friends with Kulkarni as they bonded over being Marathi men in Delhi.
In the jail, Kulkarni allegedly wrote a letter to the 32-year-old friend asking for his help to get released from jail. In the letter, which the crime branch has appended in its chargesheet filed in court last week, Kulkarni asked the friend to help arrange for a surety amount once the court accepted his bail application.
In his letter in Marathi and Hindi, Kulkarni asked his friend to persuade the girl and her family to withdraw their case. “Tell that my entire life will pass by behind bars otherwise,” he wrote in his letter.
In the letter, Kulkarni instructed his friend to make an “emotional drama” to get them to take back their complaint. “Tell them that I am experiencing chest pain and might suffer a heart attack. If they do not withdraw their complaint, I will die in jail,” Kulkarni wrote in his letter.
The letter said that once the girl and mother “become emotional”, his friend should find a lawyer so that they could file an application to withdraw their complaint. Kulkarni also advised his friend to proceed with caution and to tell the girl that she was punishing him “when all he had done was love her and never troubled her.”
A senior crime branch official said, “Kulkarni never posted the letter because he knew that guards at Tihar jail would read the letter before posting it.” Kulkarni was finally released on bail in the case on August 8, 2016 after the witness stood as personal surety and deposited a bail bond of Rs 25,000 in court.