The Mumbai police arrested Sunil Kulkarni, head of the alleged cult group Shifu Sunkriti, after the Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday came down heavily on the police for not taking seriously the complaints of three couples who claimed their daughters "were being ensnared by a cult".

Deputy commissioner of police (Detection) Vinay Rathod confirmed that Kulkarni has been arrested and investigations were on. A case under sections 420 (cheating), 370 (Buying or disposing of any person as a slave), section 328 (Causing hurt by means of poison, etc., with intent to commit an offence), 292 (Sale, etc., of obscene books, etc) of the Indian Penal Code and 67 (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc.) of Information Technology Act has been registered against Kulkarni at the Malad police station.

Crime branch officials from unit IX have taken over the investigations and have arrested Kulkarni. He will be produced in court later in the day.

On Wednesday, the HC had directed the police to register an FIR and take "serious effort" to trace the accused. The bench was hearing a petition alleging the women, in their early twenties, were trapped by Shifu Sunkriti. The plea said Kulkarni, who claims he is a doctor and psychiatrist, had forced the women into drugs. Addicted to drugs, the women left homes to join Kulkarni and are refusing to come back.

The parents had approached cops in December last year and later, too, but no action was taken.