‘Baba’ eyed fund from missionaries

via Daily Pioneer | New Delhi published on March 8, 2010

Delhi Police on Sunday invoked the stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Rajiv Ranjan Dwivedi (39) aka Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakootwale, arrested for running a multi-crore sex racket in the Capital, who the police claimed wanted to become a kingmaker in politics. According to the police, the self-styled spiritual Baba whose ambition was to enrol himself in the list of top billionaires was “eyeing big donations” from foreign agencies, including Christian missionaries. Baba, who was caught with one of his associates and six women on February 25 this year, “did not want” to enter politics but wanted to use his followers as a “vote bank” to further his influence.

Confirming the move, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) HGS Dhaliwal said, “We have invoked Section 3 of MCOCA against Dwivedi. There are more than five cases and two chargesheets against him. An FIR under MCOCA has been registered at Saket Police

Station on Saturday,” said DCP Dhaliwal, adding that if convicted, the jail term could be between five years and life imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.

According to the police, Dwivedi, a self-claimed Sai Baba devotee, was earning money through five channels: Real estate, money lending, prostitution, donations and by conducting special religious programmes. “We have found four accounts in the name of Dwivedi in the Capital. He was trying to take off and was planning his future. His eyes were on big donations. He was eyeing foreign donations, including from Christian missionaries,” Dhaliwal said.

Dwivedi was like a “Managing Director” of a company, monitoring his businesses. He was looking after “all the logistics” involved in his business. He used to pick up phone himself and start conversation with a salutation ‘Om Sai Ram’. If the caller talked about religious programmes, he will answer that and if it was about escort services, he dealt with that also with the same ease, Dhaliwal said. “His mistake was that he used the same number for all the purposes. It became easy for us to develop inputs about him and catch him,” he said, adding that Dwivedi also ran a website on escort services.

Though he projected himself as a spiritual guru, he said, Dwivedi did not give loans to any one who defaulted in the payment and he charged a “criminally high” interest rate at five to seven per cent per month. Baba was clever to choose his clients from the middle-class or the lower middle-class so that they will not approach police when he used intimidation to recover the loan amount.

The police have found that Dwivedi owns two properties in Madhya Pradesh’s Chitrakoot, where investigators had taken the godman for further investigations. They could not enter Chitrakoot as his henchmen allegedly managed to assemble more than 2,000 people near his ashram there. He was planning to build a 200-bed hospital in his village.

Asked whether Dwivedi forced anybody into prostitution, Dhaliwal said some of them “voluntarily” entered the profession but majority of them were from vulnerable backgrounds. “Some were given monetary help and they could not get out of the trap,” Dhaliwal said. On the recovery of six diaries, he said, police was verifying the details. “If the name of any person in the diary is into organised crime, he will be booked,” he said. “We are also scrutinising his I-T returns,” Dhaliwal said.

Investigators have found that Dwivedi had built cave-like structures in a temple he built in south Delhi’s Khanpur. He started working as a security guard at five-star Hotel Park Royal in Nehru Place and later shifted to a massage parlor in Lajpat Nagar. In 1997, he was arrested for prostitution. He was again arrested for receiving stolen property in 1998. Last time, Noida Police arrested Baba in 2003 for running a sex racket from a flat in Sector 11 in Noida. Noida Police had invoked the Gangster Act against Baba. Further investigations into the matter are on.

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