The Bombay High Court has recently rejected anticipatory bail to a man booked under the Black Magic Act after his close acquaintance filed a complaint that he cheated her to the tune of nearly Rs 87 lakh after promising to resolve her matrimonial issues and her husband’s health through puja and rituals.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde on December 17 was hearing the pre-arrest bail plea filed by Burzin Daruwalla, through advocate Yogesh Dalvi.
Daruwalla was booked by the Ambernath police in Thane under sections 406 (breach of trust), 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013.
The complainant had claimed that Daruwalla being her close acquaintance, convinced her that he could help in resolving her matrimonial issues and health problems of her husband by performing pujas and rituals through a priest and demanded money from the complainant. Neither rituals were performed, nor her problems were solved, and thus the woman filed a complaint against the applicant and the priest.
According to the FIR, the complainant had since 2015 paid Rs 10.9 lakh to the applicant besides lending Rs 76.38 lakh as ‘friendly loan’ to him between 2015 and 2019 and in return, he had promised to perform rituals, gave rings to her, assuring that her problems would be solved. The FIR added that he demanded more money from the woman and blamed her for not following the rituals. When the woman asked him to return the money, he refused.
After hearing submissions and perusing material on record, including WhatsApp messages between the applicant and the complainant, the court said, “The messages over a period of 3-4 years clearly suggest that the applicant had dishonestly inducted the complainant to part with huge money on the pretext of performing puja/rituals to resolve family issues. The messages clearly suggest that the applicant knew well since inception that the promise made by him was false.”
The court added that there was no evidence to support the man’s claim of having repaid Rs 60 lakh to the complainant. Moreover, the police has still not been able to trace the priest who allegedly performed the rituals, the court noted.
Rejecting the anticipatory bail application, Justice Shinde said, “In my view, custodial interrogation of the applicant cannot be denied to the prosecution.”
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