Self-styled godman Daati Maharaj was arrested on Wednesday, almost a week after he was seen offering prayers at the Shani Dham temple in south Delhi’s Asola Village, flouting the norms of lockdown enforced to control the spread of coronavirus.
“Daati Maharaj has been arrested under section 188 (disobedience of orders by public servant) read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, South, Atul Thakur said.
However, soon after his arrest, Daati Maharaj, who has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Delhi Disaster Management Act, was released on bail as all the sections under which he has been charged are bailable.
He has also been booked under section 54 B of DDM Act, 2005 and Section 3 of Epidemic Diseases Act in the case registered at PS Maidan Garhi, Thakur said.
On May 22, the self-styled godman along with some others which included aged persons and children were seen performing prayers at the temple on the occasion of ‘Shani Jayanti’. The matter came to light after videos of the incident went viral on social media.
In one of the videos, some elderly people, children and women were seen offering prayers at the temple amidst the lockdown, violating all the norms of social distancing. It can be clearly seen that the people were not even wearing masks.
IANS, however, cannot confirm the authenticity of the videos.
As soon as the matter reached District Magistrate (South) B.M. Mishra, an enquiry was been launched into the incident. Mishra directed the DCP, South to probe the matter.
Speaking to IANS over the phone, Thakur confirmed that investigation has been launched.
Earlier in March this year, the Delhi High Court asked Daati Maharaj and others to file a response on a CBI plea seeking cancellation of their anticipatory bail in a rape case.
The bail was granted to them by a trial court in January. Justice Chander Shekhar issued the notice to the godman and three of his associates as he listed the matter for next hearing on August 26.
Daati Maharaj alias Dati Madan Lal Rajasthani has been named in the CBI FIR along with Ashok, Arjun and Anil — all known by their first names — for raping a 25-year-old woman at his Ashram in Fatehpur Beri on January 9, 2016, and for having unnatural sex with the victim.
The Delhi Police in June 2018 registered the case on a complaint from the Delhi-based victim and later filed a charge sheet against Daati Maharaj and others.