The Bombay High Court asked the Mumbai police’s crime branch to consider allegations of rape and sexual assault against Sunil Kulkarni, the leader of a cult group, by the parents of the two girls who were allegedly “trapped” by the outfit.
A bench of Justices R M Savant and Sandeep Shinde asked the crime branch to consider the apprehensions of the petitioners (the parents), and the evidence on record, to infer whether or not the charges of rape under section 376 of the IPC requires to be imposed in the case.
Kulkarni was arrested in April this year on charges of trafficking, cheating and forgery after a couple from suburban Malad moved the HC claiming their two daughters, both in their early 20s, had been “trapped” by Kulkarni’s cult group Shifu Sunkriti that operates on social media.
The probe was later transferred to the crime branch.
Sandesh Patel, the petitioners’ counsel, however, told the HC the crime branch’s probe was “unsatisfactory” as it had failed to charge Kulkarni under section 376 of the IPC despite having statements of witnesses to the effect.
Patil demanded that either the crime branch be directed by the court to re-investigate the case or conduct a further probe or investigation be transferred to the CBI.
“The section for rape was not included in the FIR because the girls had testified that they had willingly joined the cult and participated in its activities.
“However, such testimony was given to the police while the girls were under the influence of drugs. Thus, the probe authorities must disregard the testimony,” Patil argued.
The crime branch, however, told the court it was already probing the case further, and sought a day’s time to inform the bench about the details.
The petitioners have claimed the girls, who were “regular college students and working professionals” were “enticed” by Kulkarni and “forced” into drugs.
They told the court that while Kulkarni claimed to be a doctor and psychiatrist, the Indian Medical Association and other authorities had confirmed he had no licence.