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Kerala godman gets 16 years in jail for rape

An Additional Sessions Court in Kochi on Wednesday sentenced controversial Godman Amrithachaithanya...

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
May 21, 2009 12:22:32 am

An Additional Sessions Court in Kochi on Wednesday sentenced controversial Godman Amrithachaithanya,alias Santhosh Madhavan,to 16 years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 2.20 lakh in two cases of raping minor girls. Additional Sessions Judge K Haripal ordered Madhavan to undergo eight years rigorous imprisonment each in two cases with the sentences running separately. However,his driver and co-accused C K Thomas was acquitted for lack of evidence.

The prosecution had slapped Sections 376 (rape of minor girls) and 342 (illegal custody) of the IPC on the self-styled spiritual leader,whose arrest in last May had blown the lid off the murky dealings of several swamis,Muslim clerics and Christian faith healers in Kerala.

A temple priest-turned-astrologer,Amrithachaithanya led a luxurious life in a posh ashram in Kochi,running an orphanage on the sidelines for adopting destitute girls. But girls from the orphanage were taken to his flat for sexual exploitation and were also offered to influential persons who visited his ashram. He also used to film his sexual perversions.

The 35-year-old Amrithachaithanya was once a popular fortune teller for the state’s politicians and IAS/IPS officials. Wives of several bureaucrats frequented his ashram and sought the swami’s blessing for a better family life. Under the guise of poojas and special prayers,he tricked them into sexual liaisons,all secretly filmed.

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Though two of the three victims turned hostile during the trial,the self-explaining visuals of rapes contained in his CDs—seized from the bank locker of the accused—were accepted as evidence. In his verdict,ASJ Haripal said the fine levied on the accused should be given as compensation to the victim who stuck to her deposition.

The swami fell from grace in last May after an NRI woman filed a complaint with the police that he had duped her of Rs 50 lakh. Meanwhile,he was also mistaken for another Santhosh Madhavan,who had been in the wanted list of the Interpol. That too precipitated the undoing of the Swami.

During a raid at his ashram,the police stumbled upon evidence of the criminal activities,which included hawala transactions,illegal land dealing,benami businesses,ganja transactions and sexual exploitation of minor girls,among others. The cases pertaining to his financial dealings are still pending in court. The state revenue department had nullified many of his major land dealings. The police probe had also found the unholy nexus several bureaucrats and politicians had maintained with Santhosh Madhavan.

His arrest had triggered a state-wide hunt against fake godmen of all religions. Many of them were openly manhandled by youth organisations.

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