Drugs, sex to fashion channel: 10 things about Mumbai cult, its leader

Hindustan Times/April 24, 2017

Sunil Kulkarni has 392 followers on Twitter and his posts talk about ‘future life awakening, soul making trainers and dual energy of male and female.’

If those words sound like the mumbo, jumbo of a cult leader, they probably are. The Mumbai Police allege Kulkarni is the leader of cult Shifu Sunkriti which allegedly entrapped young people and forced them into drugs. Kulkarni made a range of claims on Twitter, from being a spiritual healer to plans for opening a TV channel on style and fashion.

Here is what we know about the case so far:

1. Kulkarni was nabbed by the crime branch of Mumbai Police from Bandra where he has a rented apartment. He was arrested on charges of cheating, trafficking, obscenity, and violation of the information technology act following the Bombay high court’s directive to register an FIR in the matter.

2. The case was registered at the Malad police station and would be probed by the crime branch. He was remanded to police custody till April 28 after officials alleged that Kulkarni used to sexually exploited his young followers. Earlier, the criminal intelligence unit (CIU) had probed Kulkarni but were unable to proceed as the women were reluctant to file a complaint.

3. In their petition to the high court, parents of the 2 women said one could just leave a phone number on Shifu Sunkriti’s Facebook page and join the “cult”. After getting the number, Kulkarni called the youngsters and brief them about the “cult”.

4. They said that the cult’s Facebook page contains provocative images and sexually explicit messages such as “experience your naked body and naked emotions” among others. After joining the group, youngsters are administered drugs, hypnotised, and made to have sex with Kulkarni and others, they claimed in their plea.

5. Police have alleged the daughters of one of the complainants left the house after they came under Kulkarni’s influence. They said Kulkarni was a visiting faculty at the college of the elder daughter, a law graduate, who later introduced her younger sister, a student of architecture, to him.

6. Public prosecutor RY Suryavanshi said Kulkarni would prescribe sedatives to his followers, mostly between 18 to 25 years of age, on the pretext of treating them. “He would give such medicines to youngsters and turn them against their parents. He would then influence the youth to sexual activities,” Suryavanshi argued.

7. Suryavanshi argued that Kulkarni would first influence the young and later show them obscene pictures and literature to influence them. He said the girls along with several other youths were living with him but are now untraceable.

8. The crime branch has recovered a pen drive from Kulkarni’s house containing photographs of young people in naked and semi-naked condition. The agency said it suspects the people in the photographs were his alleged followers and that they need to check their identity to see if there are more victims.


9. They also recovered a prescription under Kulkarni’s letterhead for abortion pills, which the agency found was written for a girl who is yet to be traced. It is also probing the allegation of the parents that their younger daughter was sexually abused by Kulkarni. The parents said a close friend of their daughter told them about the abuse.

10. Kulkarni, who argued for himself, refuted all the claims when produced before the magistrate’s court. “The girls were abused by the parents and they have filed a complaint with the Borivli police station as well as woman’s commission. The court should call the victim girls and record their statement. They have not been heard,” claimed Kulkarni.

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