Mathura: A 25-year-old nursing student in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura has alleged that a real estate agent and his associate, a ‘baba’ (religious preacher), raped her on several occasions over four years on the pretext of getting her a government job. She has claimed they filmed her, and then blackmailed her when she threatened to file a police complaint against them.
However, the case has got tangled in a web of counter-allegations, with the accused duo claiming to be victims of extortion. The accused say they filed a complaint with the police on 4 February, 10 days before the nursing student approached the police. They have alleged that the student had taken nude photos of them to extort money.
According to the student’s complaint, a copy of which has been accessed by ThePrint, she was first raped in 2018 by the real estate agent, identified as Devender Shukla, the father of a man she claims to have been in a relationship with. Shukla allegedly took her nude pictures to blackmail her into continued submission. He also promised her a government job, she said.
For the job, the complaint says, he introduced her to a ‘baba’, identified as Karshni Nagendra Maharaj, who currently heads the west India division of the Akhil Vidvat Parishad, a group of “scholars” who travel across the country to impart religious knowledge.
Nagendra allegedly used the photos to force the student into having a physical relationship with him. He raped her for the first time in July 2020, she said.
The student has denied the counter-allegations lobbed at her, saying the two men lodged a “false complaint” against her so that her phone is seized and all the material she has collected as evidence against the two is lost.
She said she approached the police with a complaint on 15 February, but was pressured not to file a case against Nagendra and threatened “with severe consequences”. It was only on 21 February, she alleged, when she threatened to immolate herself, that a case was registered against the two men.
The case has been registered at the Kotwali Vrindavan police station, under rape and criminal intimidation sections of the IPC, among others.
The police have denied the allegations, saying the case was filed six days later as they were probing the charges levelled by the woman.
“Since there was already a case against the woman, we wanted to probe further on her role so that we are sure of what we are getting into,” said investigating officer Inspector M.S. Bhatti. “We summoned her first since a complaint was lodged by Devender Shukla. In order to begin probing and collecting the evidence, we had to confiscate her phone which, according to Shukla, contained messages that could prove he was right.”
Added Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Praveen Mullick, Circle Officer (Sadar): “Devender, in his complaint on 4 February, accused the survivor of poisoning him and taking his nude pictures before threatening to upload it online.
“He also said the (student’s) family had sought Rs 25,000 from him, which he readily gave, but once he started asking for his money back, this incident took place.”
While explaining the baba’s version in the FIR, Mullick said, “Nagendra claimed that the woman was video-calling him, harassing him, threatening repeatedly that she will file a false case against him if he doesn’t give her money.”
The police said that after this complaint, they summoned the student on 5 February and her phone was seized for a forensic probe in Lucknow.
“The complainant approached us after the FIR against her was filed by these two men under sections 328 (causing hurt by means of poison), 379 (punishment for theft) and 384 (punishment for extortion) of the IPC on 4 February 2022. Both cases will be investigated individually and we will find relevant connections. Till now we have reached out to all stakeholders and we are awaiting the girl to cooperate further,” Mullick added.
ThePrint reached both the accused for a comment via calls, and visited their houses too. However, they declined to comment. No arrest has been made in either of the cases thus far.
Speaking to ThePrint, the nursing student’s father expressed fears for her life.
What the student alleged
According to the student’s complaint, she was in a relationship with Pushpendra Shukla, son of the accused. On 20 March 2018, when she was with Pushpendra at his warehouse basement, the accused beat up his son and then allegedly raped her, she alleged.
He also took videos and pictures, which he allegedly threatened to upload on social media if she revealed anything about this incident.
After this incident, the complainant said he promised her a government job since she is well-educated. He allegedly claimed to be associated with “influential people” who could help her. For the purpose of job procurement, Shukla “reduced his fee of Rs 6 lakh” to “Rs 3 lakh”, she claimed.
Once this agreement was arrived at, the student allegedly paid Rs 1,20,000 to Shukla but never got the job. She then asked him to return the money but Shukla only returned Rs 75,000.
However, he said a baba would be able to help her get the job. This is the time when Karshni Nagendra Maharaj was introduced to her, allegedly with the claim that he was “well-connected” and had been active in distributing rations during the 2020 lockdown in Mathura.
When the complainant met Nagendra, he allegedly boasted about his connections with some top government officials, and then promised to secure a job for her. After that, they allegedly stayed in touch with each other.
On 7 July 2020, Nagendra asked the woman to visit him at his house at Motijheel, where he allegedly showed her nude pictures of her clicked by Shukla during the basement incident.
He allegedly blackmailed her and threatened to upload the pictures on social media if she resisted attempts to build a physical relationship with him. He then raped her at his house, alleged the complaint. It added that both Shukla and Nagendra threatened to kill her brutally if she attempted to “expose” them.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)