India

Vadodara: Godman accused of duping trader arrested

Vadodara: Godman accused of duping trader arrested
Prashant Upadhyay in police custody. (Express photo)

The Vadodara police on Monday arrested a self-styled godman, Prashant Upadhyay, who was on the run after he was accused of duping a debt-ridden businessman of Rs 21 lakh on the pretext of reviving his business. Upadhyay was arrested from a hotel at Chikli in Vapi district by a team from the Warasiya police station.

“We had formed four teams after an FIR was filed. Initially we interrogated his devotees from the city and staffers of his ashram. His devotees from Anand, Kheda and Surat were also interrogated. Meanwhile, we had received a tip-off about his presence in Mumbai and then in Pune but on both occasions he had managed to flee before the police reached the spot,” said DCP, Zone 4, Achal Tyagi.

“We received another tip-off that he was at a restaurant in Vapi and as soon as the police team reached there, they could identify him and arrested him,” Tyagi added. He further said that all the places where he took shelter were owned by his devotees, but they were unaware that he was on the run as he had told them that he was visiting the cities to consult doctors for a heart ailment.

“If we come to know that any person had helped the accused to flee or had given shelter despite knowing that he was an accused in the case, they will be booked under relevant sections as well,” Tyagi added. He will be produced in court for remand procedures on Tuesday.

According to the complaint filed by the businessman, Devraj Pandaya, he had visited Prashant Upadhyay, the godman of Bagala Mukhi Brahmashtra Vidyaman-dir in Warasiya area of the city, after he suffered losses of over Rs 2 crore in his business. Upadhyay had promised to help him revive his business through various rituals and prayers and extracted Rs 21.80 lakh through gold and cash. Along with Pandaya, four other persons had also come forward and registered a complaint against him. He was also booked in the Gotri police station for threatening a woman through his disciples. The woman had held him responsible after his son did not return home for more than two years.