The tantrik,who had duped an unmarried woman of Rs 2.8 lakh by recommending a rhino sacrifice as means to find a groom,was granted bail by the Bhoiwada Court within a few hours of his arrest last Tuesday. The court granted him bail because the name of the accused in the FIR lodged by the police did not match his. The Shivaji Park police officials are now getting a legal opinion on what their next step should be.
Shivaji Park police stations senior police inspector Vilas Gurav confirmed that the tantrik had been granted bail immediately,without a surety being demanded. He added that another arrest was in the offing.
When the victim approached us to lodge a complaint last month,she cited in her statement that a tantrik named Farid Shah had cheated her of over Rs two lakh by claiming to use the sum for a rhino sacrifice in order to find her a groom. In the FIR,the name of the accused is stated as Farid Shah. However when we arrested the tantrik,he said his name was Shamshuddin Shahbuddin Malik,aged 38 years. When we produced Malik at the Bhoiwada court,the court pointed out that there was a discrepancy in the names of the accused, said police sub-inspector Shashikant Yadav of the Shivaji Park police station.
Police officials stressed that they had traced Malik with the help of his phone number and the photographs procured from the owner of the room in Dadar where the tantrik used to practice. However,the court also raised questions on whether Malik used to actually practice in the Dadar flat,as mentioned in the victims statement.
The complainant had showed us the room in Dadar where she approached the tantrik. We questioned the landlord,who showed us an agreement that had been signed between him and another man,who was allegedly Maliks friend. Maliks name was not mentioned anywhere in the agreement,though in November the friend had told the landlord that instead of him Malik would be staying in the room, said Yadav.
The landlord had told the police that as he was not convinced about the tantriks credentials,he had asked him to give a photo id. Similarly,at the time of signing the rooms agreement,the landlord had also asked Maliks friend to give a photo id.
Though there was no agreement in Maliks name,we had procured a statement from the landlord saying that though the room was initially rented by Maliks friend,it was Malik who stayed there and carried out his tantrik activities. We even submitted the photo IDs to the court,however the court said that there was no direct evidence to prove that Farid Shah and Shamshuddin Shahbuddin Malik are the same person, said Yadav.
The police are now planning to seek legal advice to decide their next step. At present,we are on the lookout for the friend. We have his photo and are trying to trace him. Meanwhile,by next week,we will be meeting the public prosecutor to discuss how the case will proceed in court. Malik has been directed to assist in the investigation and is present every day for interrogation, said Yadav.
When asked if the complainant had identified the accused,Yadav said that an identification parade is carried out only in judicial custody,which has to be granted by the court.