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Priest, others in sex scandal dismissed

Times of India, India
Feb. 16, 2005 • Wednesday February 16, 2005

AHMEDABAD: The sadhus, including the priest of Swaminarayn temple, allegedly involved in a sex scandal, would be dismissed, a top priest of the Vadtal-based sect said here on Wednesday.

“All the sadhus whose images appear in the CD will be dismissed, alongwith the priest of Junagadh Swaminarayan temple, Bhaktiswarup,” top priest of Vadtal Swaminarayan temple, Navtam Swami said here a day after the arrest of the priest of the sect.

The crime branch had on Tuesday exposed a sex scandal and arrested Bhaktiswarup and three touts, after seizing a CD containing images of different sadhus, who were caught on camera indulging in sexual acts with different women.

However, Navtam Swami said the filming of the CD was the handiwork of elements who wanted to defame the sect.

“Police should also look into the motive of trapping the sadhus on-camera,” Swami said.

Additional Commissioner of Police (crime) DG Vanzara had said the CD was a “compilation” and was shot at different places including Junagadh, Bharuch, Surat and Ahmedabad.

Navtam Swami also demanded a thorough probe to find out who had supplied the cameras which were kept hidden in bags and who had financed the whole operation.

“Police should also examine who the main benefactors are”, he said.

Asked what impression the sexually explicit images of Swaminarayan sadhus conveyed, the Swami said “The whole episode is very unfortunate. The sadhus are human beings and they have been lured into a trap”.

Police said the sex scandal was a fall-out of a rivalry between two factions at Vadtal Swaminarayan temple, trying to defame each other over control of the temple.

Three persons, who were arrested along with the priest yesterday, allegedly operated as touts for the sadhus and lured married women, unable to conceive, police added.

The three had planted hidden cameras and were making CDs of the sadhus, they added.

Seven persons are absconding in the case and involvement of more sadhus was expected to be revealed, police added.

Last year, a fast-track court in Nadiad had sentenced five sadhus of Vadtal Swaminarayan temple to death for murdering the head priest.

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