Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) arrested self-styled godman Shiv Sankar Baba for sexually assaulting former students of the school he had founded - Sushil Hari International Residential School, Chennai.
The 72-year-was arrested from South East Delhi's Chittaranjan Park. The accused will later be produced in a Chennai court for remand to judicial custody, Hindustan Times reported.
The school authorities have not released any official statement since his arrest.
Complaints By Many
The horrific incident came to light after a few alumni took to social media, alleging they were intoxicated and sexually abused by the Sankar when they were studying in the school.
The police lodged complaints and launched a probe. later, the case was transferred to CB-CID on June 13. Following, an FIR was registered against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act at the All Women Police Station in Mahabalipuram.
According to the India Today report, as many as 13 survivors, including two minors, have come forward against the perpetrator.
One of the complainants detailed the account of the horrific experience she faced. The survivor said Shankar had forced himself on her, kiss and hug her several times ever since she had joined the school.
Over the years, when the survivor went to take his blessing on her 18th birthday, On her eighteenth birthday, she was first made to wait in his lounge for hours. Later, the accused came out, kissed her on her cheek and wished her, and asked her to visit him later in the day.
But the girl did not go. Following this, a woman identified as Barathi came and took the survivor to Shankar.
He allegedly took her to his bedroom and forced himself on her. He then asked her if she knew how to kiss and said he would 'teach her'. When she began to shiver out of fear, he consoled her by saying she was 'God's child' and "God likes her". He then stopped and told her to continue later.
The girl said she was forced to visit him during her dance classes. In one of the meets, he allegedly whispered that he would unhook her inner garment.
Girls Brought To Lounge
Recounting the incident, the girl informed that the female students were allowed to stay in the school hostel for free. The culprit would ask the staff to bring girls to his lounge, intoxicate and sexually abused them.
Before the arrest, the Mamallapuram all-women police station last week had registered three cases against him under relevant sections of IPC, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.
According to the media report, a separate probe was conducted by the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (TNSCPCR). Commission Chairperson Sarawathy Rangasamy informed that they had issued summons to Sankar, the school principal and other officials. However, the principal and Sankar failed to appear for the investigation as both contracted COVID-19. They would issue another notice to the duo and submit the final report to the government.
Shankar has been charged under sections 354 (outraging a woman's modesty), 363 (kidnapping), 365 (wrongful consignment), 366 (kidnapping and forced or seduced to illicit intercourse), Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002 and sections 4, 8, 10, 12 and 17 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the media report.