In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, just before he was picked up by cops, Sunil Kulkarni, founder of Shifu Sunkriti, denies allegations of running a cult and pins blame on parents.
Sunil Kulkarni has been accused of running a sex cult and brainwashing the youth. However, the man at the centre of the storm of allegations claims that he is trying to “free human beings from cages”. His Facebook page ‘Shifu Sunkriti’ helps him spread his word. During the two-hour-long interview with Mumbai Mirror, Kulkarni was on the phone for a good part of the time. During one such conversation, he was trying to convince someone to leave their parents’ home. However, he did not disclose his location to anyone on the phone. He did not even allow Mirror to photograph him. Just as he stepped out of the coffee shop in Fort where this interview was conducted, Kulkarni was picked up by cops. Excerpts from the interview:
What does Shifu Sunkriti stand for?
Shifu Sunkriti is not an organisation; it is my mystic name. Shifu means master, Sunkriti means Sun (reason) + Prakriti. I have been talking to every age group of people about their own family problems and emotional problems. I trained people on neuroplasticity resilience, it is a total connect of a brain to the body through the spinal cord through the electrical energy through the endocrinal grands that is basically the chemical energy. When all this is brought together, we get connected to ourselves. To do that, you have to physically get naked before yourself and then look at your body, get friendly with your body, then you actually get emotionally naked. You should have that courage.
How does Shifu Sunkriti function?
Nine months back, I started a Facebook page to carry my thoughts forward. After my Facebook page came in the news, I was flooded with emails from all over the world. Depressed people are writing to me. The practitioners of psychology and psychiatry take advice from my Facebook articles. My articles talk about brain and body connection, male and female relations, about society and culture.
Why are the youth leaving their parents’ homes after joining Shifu Sunkriti. In one case, a student even dropped out of college.
It is not Shifu Sunkriti but the parents who are at fault in all cases. In the recent case which is before HC, the parents were torturing their children. They have an abusive relationship and they followed their children everywhere they went. A domestic violence case should have been filed against them. I am just trying to help the two adult girls, who are trying to live an independent life. How is that a crime? I have even met Vijaya Rahatkar, chairperson of the Maharashtra State Commission of Women and complained about the parents. I have written to the police stations and to the Mumbai Police chief. In two other cases, parents of two young boys are just trying to put the blame on me for whatever differences they have with their sons. One of the boys work for me and one of the boys is a friend of his. But I have just helped these boys solve their emotional problems. Now one of the parents has confined their son in Goregaon and we are trying to release him.
You claim on your LinkedIn profile that you are a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist. Then why don’t you open your clinic and practice?
I did practice for three years. My Facebook page and my profession are two different things. I am a corporate trainer by profession. I have been giving lectures on management in all education institutes from Mithibai College to IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Kharagpur. One of the girls from the current HC case was working with me as a counsellor. I used to conduct lectures in Mithibai College and during one of the meeting she came in contact with me and then took up psychology. I have 16 such young counsellors nationally, all of them are under the age of 25. I don’t prescribe any medicine to anybody. I just show them the path.
You have many cases against you, from rape to cheating and now of running a cult.
The parents have filed a case against police in HC; they have not made me a party. Yes, the girls stayed with me in Andheri after they left their parent’s house in December but that doesn’t mean I have done anything wrong. The past rape case in Delhi against me was fictitious, that is why I could secure my bail. The financial cheating cases were nothing but the cases of cheque bouncing. I have cleared it with signing the bond. My annual income is Rs 75 lakh and I pay all taxes to the government. I am going to expose the parents soon.
Why are you not allowing us to take your picture if you have nothing to hide?
I am not hiding. If somebody is trying to trap me I will definitely fight back.
By Sharmeen Hakim
The Bombay High Court yesterday came down hard at the Mumbai police for their tardy investigation into the alleged ‘sex racket’ being run by Sunil Kulkarni. The court has ordered an FIR to be registered against ‘Shifu Sunkriti’ as well as Kulkarni.
A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudesai were hearing a petition filed by a Chartered Accountant and his wife, alleging that their educated daughters (23 and 21) had left their home at the behest of Kulkarni, who was drugging and sexually abusing them.
When the bench was informed that the girls had left their home on their own accord and their statements were recorded by the police, the furious bench said, “The language in the WhatsApp messages clearly shows the girls are under the influence [of Kulkarni], you can’t go by the statement made by them.”
The bench was referring to Facebook chats between the girls and Kulkarni back in December, when their parents refused to let them meet Kulkarni. The girls had to be let go after they began accusing their parents of domestic violence.
“This needs to be taken seriously. If they had gone by their own free will, no one would have approached the court,” said the court.
The police through public prosecutor Sangeeta Shinde said that they had raided Kulkarni’s premises on April 9, six days after the NGO helping the parents submitted their report to the police. “The parents approached the police in December last year for the first time and till April the police did nothing. You (police) should have taken immediate action,” the court remarked. “How can the police take such serious cases so casually?” Justice Prabhudessai asked.
When Mirror contacted Sanjay Saxena, Joint CP, Crime, last night, he confirmed that Kulkarni was being interrogated. Till the time of going to press, the Malad police were in the process of registering an FIR against Kulkarni.
Incidentally, both girls were seen giving interviews to the media outside the High Court but neither Kulkarni nor the girls attended the HC hearing inside the court. Both girls did speak to Mirror, and mouthed exactly the same allegations against their parents that Kulkarni said.
Advocates for the petitioners, Sandesh Patil and Varsha Bhogle also pointed out complaints from the parents of two more children. They claim that their son left home earlier this month. “He gave reasons that we had failed in his upbringing and had sent him into depression,” the complaint reads. Another set of parents stated that their son called Kulkarni ‘God’ and that he would go to any lengths for him.