BHOPAL: It was not personal or family issues, but instead the sustained blackmailing by a young woman, which led model-turned-spiritual guru Bhayyu Maharaj to shoot self to death at his bungalow in Indore on June 12, 2018.
More than seven months after the 50-year-old spiritual guru (who had followers and friends among all major political parties) shot self to death at his bungalow in Indore’s upscale Silver Springs township, the Indore police arrested on Friday evening, three persons, including a 22-year-old woman Palak Puranik and the spiritual guru’s two sewadars Sharad Deshmukh (35) and Vinayak Dudhade (40).
The arrested trio has been booked for abetment of suicide, criminal conspiracy and extortion under Sections 306,120B and 384 of IPC, Indore Police additional SP (ASP-Zone III) Prashant Chaube told the New Indian Express.
The arrests were made on the basis of statements of Maharaj’s better half Dr Ayushi, daughter Kuhu, his two sisters and other associates, which revealed that Palak, a resident of Footi Kothi area of Indore was blackmailing the spiritual guru to pay huge sum failing which she would have made some of his very private things public. Maharaj’s two long trusted sewadars, Sharad Deshmukh and Vinayak Dudhade too were hand in glove with Palak in blackmailing the spiritual guru.
Two months back, Bhayyu Maharaj’s driver Kailash Patil, had also hinted to cops about the trio being behind his boss’s June 12, 2018 suicide.
“Based on the statements of the Bhayyu Maharaj’s family members and other close associates, the trio was arrested on Friday evening,” the ASP added.
Importantly, Palak worked as office assistant at Bhayyu Maharaj’s office for a year before his second marriage with Gwalior-based dentist Dr Ayushi in April 2017.
According to Indore police sources, while working with Bhayyu Maharaj, the woman Palak developed very close bonding with the spiritual guru and took in her possession some very private things of the self-styled guru. She first pressurized Maharaj to marry her, but after he married Dr Ayushi in April 2017, she started blackmailing the spiritual guru to give her huge sums.
A probe has revealed that Bhayyu Maharaj shot self to death on June 12, 2018, just two days after the Delhi police had registered a case of rape, unnatural act and molestation against self-styled godman Daati Maharaj.
“The woman Palak and her aides were blackmailing Bhayyu Maharaj to pay huge sum failing which they would have made him another Daati Maharaj,” said a cop connected with investigations.
The 50-year-old Bhaiyyu Maharaj, born as Udai Singh Deshmukh in a family of agriculturists in Shujalpur town of Madhya Pradesh in 1968, was among the five Hindu religious leaders who were accorded MoS status in April 2018 by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.
He ran a trust called Shri Sadguru Datta Dharmik and Parmarthik Trust in Indore. The trust was established in 1996 with the aim to ‘inculcate the spirit of liveliness in each human being and to make him a perfect citizen with social vision. The trust also aimed to inculcate the spirit of nationhood, among others’.
A science graduate, Maharaj has done modelling for Siyaram Suiting in his younger days.
Since the age of 23, he has been into social and spiritual works and also runs a website bhayyumaharaj.com.
The godman was a new age guru, who drove car and surfed the internet. His political followers were mostly from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. He had shot to limelight when the UPA II regime sent him as a special mediator to persuade social activist Anna Hazare to call off his fast at New Delhi’s Ramlilla Ground.
Bhaiyyu Maharaj had friends across parties lines and the list of followers ranged from former Maharashtra CMs Vilasrao Deshumukh and Sharad Pawar to union minister Nitin Gadkari, MNS chief Raj Thackeray and world famous singer Lata Mangeshkar. He spent considerable time with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was present with spiritual heads of other communities when Modi as Gujarat CM broke his three-day fast in 2011.
In the last Maharashtra assembly elections when the strain between BJP and Shiv Sena overthe allocation of tickets had got too complicated with a high number of ticket seekers, Bhaiyyu Maharaj was roped in for reconciliation between different ticket aspirants.