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Friday, March 14, 2003

Man posing as Sai Baba incarnation held in Surat

Express News Service

Surat, March 13: The Rander Police arrested a man posing as an incarnation of Sai Baba from Adajan late on Thursday. The imposter indentified as Omprakash Gupta was arrested from his a house near Parle Point after the police received a complaint from his ‘‘follower’’ turned foe.

Gupta also had another office named ‘‘Om Sai Darbar’’ in Adajan and has been operating in Surat for the last one year. A resident of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, Gupta used to call himself an incarnation of Satya Sai Baba and con the people who came to him looking for solutions to their numerous problems. Gupta claimed to have cure for all the ailments and also help people further their business prospects, begetting children, etc.

Gupta would ask the devotees to register themselves by paying an initial deposit of Rs 1,500. Then he used to perform a puja according to the problem of the person.

With the puja was another instalment of Rs 1,500 charged. And then the final installment of Rs 24,000 that had to be paid.

Apart from calling himself an incarnation of Satya Sai Baba, he also used to boast that the most influential people of Surat were his followers. Gupta claimed that he helped Dhiru Gajera win the closely contested election. Gupta also used names of the Municipal Commsssioner, senior police officials calling them his disciples.

All this would have continued but for a scuffle with one of his disciple. A builder from Adajan area (name withheld) who was also one of the devotees was asked to pay the final installment of Rs 24,000 which he refused to pay. Failing which the imposter threatened him with dire consequences.

The builder reported the matter immediately to Rander police station. Rander PI V D Vanar arrested the imposter from his residence in Sarjan Society, Parle Point.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (West and Traffic) Dr K L N Rao says,‘‘He used to float names of influential people and con people.’’ Rao adds,‘‘On Friday, Gupta was presented in the court and now he is in judicial custody.’’

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