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Bengal ‘monk’ held for rape of student

Purulia, Oct. 29: A 40-year-old man, posing as a monk from Howrah in saffron robes and mouthing Vedic verses, was arrested last evening from the heart of the town after he allegedly conned a college student, kept her hostage for 10 days and raped her.

The plot goes back two months when a religious organisation in Bethuadohori in Nadia district received a call, purportedly from Howrah, saying Swami Akhileswarananda would be attending a two-day dharm sabha there.

The “swami” arrived, used his rhetoric and guile to win over several followers one of whom invited him to his home.

He was served a hearty meal after which he said he would like to meet the daughter of the house alone as she “was a good candidate to take diksha (religious vows)”.

The second-year Bengali honours student of Rabindra Bharati University was apparently very impressed. “He said he was a B.Tech graduate from IIT Kharagpur. He spoke so well on several subjects that we were awestruck by his intellect and versatility,” said Khokon Sinha Roy, the girl’s maternal uncle.

After returning to Calcutta, the “swami” kept in touch with the family over phone. A day after Durga Puja, he spoke to the girl. “He told her he would be going to north Bengal and that he needed to meet her,” said Jiten Mukherjee, officer-in-charge of Purulia Town police station.

She was asked to wait at Sealdah station on October 17. “When the girl turned up, on way to her tuition classes in Baranagar, the monk told her she must surrender her body to him if she wanted to do well and prevent any harm from befalling her family. He misled the girl into accompanying him to a hotel near Sealdah station and raped her.”

When the girl did not return home the next day, her parents and relatives called up the places the monk had mentioned being associated with. They were, however, told that no one by that name or description had ever been heard of.

The parents then lodged a missing person’s complaint at Baranagar police station. Her relatives, along with the police, launched a massive hunt.

“The monk spoke with an accent peculiar to natives of Purulia and Bankura,” Mukherjee said. This prompted some of the girl’s relatives to head to Purulia.

They spotted him walking down Chowk Bazar, a busy shopping area. They rushed to the police station and a team traced him and put him behind bars. “After some sustained interrogation, the man confessed that his name was Chinmoy Mohanti and he was from Jharbagda village in Manbazar. He revealed that he had locked the girl in a room at a lodge in Purulia,” the police officer said. The girl and her family left for home this evening.

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