ByJaspreet KaurA cult leader who allegedly groomed and raped four female devotees over three decades has failed in an attempt to have this case thrown out. Rajinder Kalia, 65, has been accused at the High Court of exerting 'undue influence' on worshippers as young as four at the Baba Balak Nath temple in Bell Green, Coventry.
Practising an obscure branch of Hinduism, Kalia allegedly indoctrinated his devotees to believe he was “an incarnation of God and or the divine” and to see him as “all-powerful, all-seeing and all-knowing". He had also claimed “to be divine, to have a direct link to and regularly to speak with God or manifestations of God".
Kalia is also accused of instructing his followers to launch an 'onslaught of harassment' against any members of the temple who spoke out against him. One follower claims she was threatened with acid attacks, while another claimed that the tyres on her car were slashed after she spoke out.
Kalia would tell his devotees, many of whom were vulnerable women, that those in the “outside world are evil and to be avoided, and that his followers can and must trust only him” during his sermons. Worshippers would also pay Kalia, who lived in a gated home with a swimming pool in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, around £12,000 each to show their devotion after he persuaded them that he was a 'healer and miracle worker'.
Four women seeking damages from Kalia are no longer members of the temple in Bell Green.
Last month, Kalia, represented by Sarah Crowther QC, attempted to have the case thrown out of the High Court arguing that the claim was 'abusive' and that the allegations were 'vague and unwieldy,' The Times reported. However, Deputy Master Grimshaw refused to dismiss the case.
Mr Grimshaw said that although he had “serious reservations as to whether the claimants will succeed on the undue influence claims,” he was “not satisfied that they are bound to fail and have no real prospect of success.” While it has been agreed the alleged victims will submit an amended claim, the judge refused to dismiss the case and issue a summary judgment against them.
In his defence submission to the court, Kalia denies all allegations of wrongdoing and says the allegations are 'baseless'.
The next hearing at the High Court will be on September 9.
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