The Vadodara police on Thursday booked a godman for allegedly duping a debt-ridden businessman of Rs 21.80 lakh. (Representational Image)
The Vadodara police on Thursday booked a godman for allegedly duping a debt-ridden businessman of Rs 21.80 lakh under the pretext of reviving his business.
According to the complaint filed by one Devraj Pandaya, the owner of a casting machinery parts factory, he had incurred losses of Rs 2 crore and was debt-ridden after a major financial slowdown in 2014. Following this, a friend introduced him to Dr Prashant Upadhyay, a godman at Bagala Mukhi Brahmashta Vidyamandir in Warasiya area of the city.
When Pandaya met Upadhyay, the latter assured him that he could help Pandaya revive his business and regain the lost money if he followed certain instructions. Upadhyay demanded that Pandaya provide him gold from his house which he would use to make specific instruments to offer prayers for Pandaya. Thus, Pandaya gave away gold worth Rs 12 lakh. Upadhaya also extracted Rs 3 lakh for performing various rituals, Pandaya alleged.
Pandaya further stated that he paid Rs 15,000 every month for a year to the temple, in addition to Rs 5 lakh for ornaments for the idols and the marble flooring at the temple, as Upadhyay had insisted that all of this would help his financial woes. However, when nothing changed after six years, Pandaya demanded his money back from Upadhyay.
He further alleged that when he approached the godman to return the money, the latter threatened to book him under false cases of molestation and rape.
Following this, Pandaya lodged a complaint at the Warasiya police station.
The godman has been booked under IPC sections 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation). The accused is on the run.
“After the complaint was received by us, four more people have come forward accusing the godman of duping them. We have taken their statements as well. The accused is on the run but we have formed a team to nab him,” said Investigating Officer SS Anand.
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