The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Luck deserts fortune-teller
- Widow duped of Rs 6 lakh for yagnas to ward off evil eye on son

Armed with a court order, a team from Kalighat police station arrested well-known astrologer Mata Dhanwantari Bishalakshmi on Sunday on charges of duping a widow of Rs 6 lakh.

Her husband, too, was rounded up for his direct involvement in the case.

According to police, three years ago, the astrologer told the widow she would perform yagnas for her son to ward off the evil eye. For a year and a half, she performed yagnas and charged Rs 6 lakh in instalments for them.

“The widow was told that her only son would die soon, owing to the influence of the evil eye. Only a series of yagnas could save him,” said an officer of Kalighat police station.

A year and a half ago, Shirsha Bandopadhyay, the widow, a resident of Nakuleshwar Bhattacharya Lane, filed a petition in the sub-divisional magistrate’s court in Alipore and brought a cheating charge against the astrologer. The court, recently, directed the police to inquire into the matter, and, if necessary, arrest the accused.

Jayanta Das, officer-in-charge of Kalighat police station, said after Shirsha’s husband died three years ago, she went to the astrologer to learn what the future held in store for her 13-year-old son.

The astrologer realised that the widow would be easy prey. She told Shirsha that evil spirits had their eye on her son and he would be dead within two months, said police.

In desperation, the woman gave in. The astrologer told Shirsha that only “holy fire” could save her son. She planned a series of yagnas. The yagna fire would keep away evil spirits.

As time passed, the number of yagnas increased and the expenses spiralled. “The woman paid Rs 6 lakh in 18 months as fees for the astrologer for organising the yagnas. Then, tired of footing all the bills for the yagnas, she realised they could do nothing for her son. She also realised she was being duped. She then moved court against the astrologer,” said an official probing the case.

During the course of investigation, the police came to know that the astrologer had made a fortune. She has three well-appointed offices in Kalighat, Howrah and in front of RG Kar Medical College and Hospital.

“When we visited her office, we were surprised to find how well-decorated it was, a reflection of the astrologer’s financial status,” said the official.

In the course of the investigation, police found that the astrologer’s husband, Arun Goswami, too, was involved in the case. He would lure prospective clients for his wife.

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