BHUBANESWAR: In a plot straight out of a Bollywood potboiler, the owner of a City-based hotel was looted by a transgender who posed as a ‘Tantrik’ to conduct a Puja to invoke prosperity. The drama involved a series of events starting from the fake Tantrik checking into the hotel at Infocity here on Sunday (December 4) to her exit from the premises on Wednesday.
The con, who was identified as Soumya Ranjan Pradhan, is aged about 28 years and hails from Angul district. Police sources said she belongs to an affluent family and has completed her Diploma in engineering.
Pradhan managed to get the hotel owner Badal Parija’s number and called him up to book a room. She claimed to be an ascetic and demanded new accessories and toiletries before entering the room.
Pradhan approached Parija and his wife and told them that she was keen to conduct ‘Chandi Patha’ which will bring good fortune for them. Her conditions were that some gold ornaments should be kept in Parija’s kerchief and placed before the deity while the offerings were being made.
Pradhan asked the hotel owner to hold an earthen lamp and turn around while the mantras were chanted. Moreover, she kept on asking whether the hotel room had CCTV cameras, Parija said. She conducted two rounds of puja with Parija and his wife, made the offerings separately and later, placed the knotted kerchief in Parija’s locker.
While checking out on Monday, Pradhan proclaimed that if the cloth was opened before two and half days, the effect of the Puja will be nullified. Parija had also transferred `6000 to Pradhan’s bank account for the Puja.
The hotel owner, suspecting the activities of Pradhan, opened the knotted kerchief placed in his locker only to realise that he was cheated as the ornaments were missing.
Infocity police registered an FIR on Friday and placed two mobile phones used by Pradhan on surveillance. She was intercepted and arrested on Sunday. The ornaments and cash were recovered and Pradhan was produced in a local court and sent to judicial custody, the police said.
Further investigation is on to verify the criminal antecedents of the accused, DCP Satyabrata Bhoi said.