Marking the first-ever judgement in a case under the state’s recently introduced anti-superstition law, the Vikhroli magistrate court yesterday acquitted a tantrik accused of cheating and harassing a 25-year-old woman.
The accused, a peon-turned-tantrik, was booked by the Crime Branch on April 9, 2014, which also made it the first case ever to be booked under the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. The plaintiff’s husband and in-laws, who had also been booked under the Act, were acquitted by the court as well.
“This was the first case to be registered after the anti-superstition law was created,” confirmed the defence lawyers, Manoj Gowd and Kavita Durga Pal, who also said that the accused was acquitted because there had been no proper investigation.
“There was negligence in the investigation. There was no proper procedure while recovering the evidence. The evidence was not eligible in the eye of law,” the defence said, after Judge M I G D Shaikh made his ruling.
Peon-turned-tantrik Dashrat Pawar (45) was arrested on April 9, 2014, and was charged under Sections 2 (1), 3 (1), 3 (3) of the recently introduced anti-superstition law after a 25-year-old woman from Vikhroli filed a complaint against him at the Parksite police station.
She told the court that she and her family were frustrated that her husband did not have a job and that they had to survive on her earnings. She said her family would force her to visit Pawar as he had successfully convinced her family that he could help them with his supernatural powers.
The tantrik told her family that she had been “possessed by an evil spirit” which had to be exorcised. According to the plaintiff, he would drape a knife in red cloth and use it to etch a cross mark on her neck and then charge Rs 10,000 for the ‘treatment’.
The plaintiff told the court that Pawar was known as a cross-dressing tantrik amongst other residents in his locality in Prateeksha Nagar, Sion. She added that he would paint his face red, dress like a woman, wear heavy jewellery and carry a trident.