The stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act was invoked against a self-styled godman, recently caught here on charges of running a multi-crore sex racket, on Sunday with the police claiming he was "eyeing big donations" from foreign agencies, including Christian missionaries.
Thirty-nine-year-old Shiv Murat Dwivedi alias Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale, who was caught along with one of his associates and six women 10 days ago, "did not want" to enter politics, but wanted to use his followers as a "vote bank" to further his influence.
"We have invoked Section 3 of the MCOCA against Dwivedi. There are more than five cases and two chargesheets against him. A first information report under the MCOCA has been registered at Saket police station yesterday (Saturday)," Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) H G S Dhaliwal said.
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 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 said.
"He was trying to take off and 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.
Dwivedi was looking after "all the logistics" involved in his business.
He used to pick up phone and start conversation with a salutation Jai Sriram. 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 purpose. It became easy for us to develop inputs about him and catch him," he said, adding Dwivedi also ran a website on escorts services.
Though Dwivedi projected himself as a spiritual guru, he said, Dwivedi did not give any one who defaulted in payment of loans taken from him and he charged a "criminally high" interest rate at five to seven percent per month.
The godman was so clever that his clients were from the middle-class or 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. The investigators could not enter Chitrakoot as his henchmen have 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 IT returns," Dhaliwal said.
Investigators have found that Dwivedi has built cave-like structures in a temple that he had set up in south Delhi's Khanpur.
He started working as a security guard at a five star Hotel Park Royal in Nehru Place and later shifted to a massage parlour in Lajpat Nagar.In 1997, he was arrested on prostitution charges. He was again arrested for receiving stolen property in 1998.