Indo Asian News Service/May 25, 2007By Shyam Pandharipande
Nagpur - Every saint has a past; every sinner, a future, goes a maxim. Kripalu Maharaj, an 85-year-old Hindu spiritual guru, charged with raping a 22-year old Guyanese woman in south Trinidad Sunday, has a similar case pending against him in the high court here.Setting up an ashram near this city in central India in 1984, Kripalu Maharaj, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, attracted considerable following in the region. All was hunky dory for the swami until an elderly man filed a complaint against him in 1991 that Maharaj had kidnapped his two major daughters.
Following the complaint, the police came to know of at least two earlier cases of rape in which complaints were not registered, public prosecutor Prashant Sathiyanathan recalls.
The police filed a common first information report (FIR) against the swami putting together all four cases of kidnapping and rape allegedly committed over a period from 1985-91, Sathiyanathan told IANS.
The swami contested the charges, first in the high court and then in the Supreme Court, which asked the police to file a separate FIR for each case in the lower court.
The two major sisters, meanwhile, stated in the court that they stayed and had sex with the swami regularly of their own volition, that he was the incarnation of Lord Krishna and that they were his disciples.
Even as another case of rape on a minor girl was filed against the swami, the two disciple sisters quietly retreated from the ashram and, it was reported subsequently that they were happily married.
The 12-year old girl, whose father had complained of unnatural sex and rape on his daughter, too testified in the court that the swami had sex with her every time her parents took her to him. The court wondered how a minor girl could go to a man again and again if he had sex with her and how come it didn't hurt. The medical reports too went in favour of the swami, who was acquitted of all the charges.
The high court, before which the prosecution has preferred an appeal against the acquittal in 2005, had the swami deposit his passport, restraining him from leaving the country.
Later however, the court allowed the swami's application seeking permission to go abroad citing ill-health. The case awaits final hearing for which the date is yet to be fixed, Sathiyanathan said.