Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Astrologer held for polygamy

By: Manjunath L Hanji
A tale of lies: Fake Astrologer Nityanand Shastri married five women and cheated more that 100 people across the state.
Belief in superstition cost several women in the city dearly when they befriended a pavement astrologer with a flair for marriage and race horses. The police arrested Nityananda Shatri (40) after Vijaya Saraswati, a devotee from the city lost Rs 20 lakh in cash and 50 grams of gold by falling for the charms of the fake astrologer. The police were aghast when they realised that they had just stumbled upon the tip of the iceberg and much more lay hidden below the surface.
Shatri fooled five women into marriage by giving them imitation jewellery and posing as an astrologer. He also extracted money from others for expensive puja ceremonies to solve their problems. Shatri, an electrician from Mangalore came to the city in 1998 in search of a job.After several failed attempts to make an honest living, he befriended Rangaraj, a pavement astrologer and decided to take up astrology. After learning the trade he extracted vast amounts of money from unsuspecting victims to conduct pujas, but instead he used it to bet on race horses.
All those women
Shatri targeted women mostly, and to impress them he gifted them dresses and imitation jewellery. Though he was already married to Komala of Kasaragodu in 2001, he made no attempt to hide his intentions of marrying his devotees.
In 2001, Shatri married Jayalakshmi in Ullal who was already married to another man. However, in 2003 she dumped him and was reunited with her first husband. In 2006, he married Pavitra in Mysore by posing as an astrologer, but she realised his real intentions and returned to her hometown after dumping him, following which in 2007 he married Vasanthi in Mangalore.
At Gangammanagudi,  Shatri impressed Vijaya Saraswati who gave him Rs 20 lakh and 50 grams of gold in 2009. He took the amount and went to Mngalore where he met Shakeela and using the same ruse, married her.
In his confession, Shatri said that he has cheated more than a hundred people across the state and that he has houses in Bangalore and Mangalore.
Police investigating the case are confused about where to begin. When they visited the homes of his many wives, they told the police that they were unaware of his polygamous lifestyle. Police continue to get complaints on a daily basis against Shatri, and though at present they have 26 complaints lodged, they expect it to cross 100 once the report is published.
Investigating officer BG Ratnakar, PI of Chamarajpet said, "We have been investigating for the last one month and are still getting interesting facts each day. He cheated over 100 people of over Rs 50 lakh. He doesn't have money now because he lost all the money on race horses and other games."
Exploits of a crook
In Chamrajpet, Nityanand duped Madhusudan of Rs 3.45 lakh, in Mysore he duped Jagadish Rs 1.10 lakh and Paduvarahalli Shivanna Rs 9 lakh, in Basaveshwaranagar duped Rs 2.5 lakh. He took gold ornaments in the name of religious ceremonies amounting to over Rs 4 lakh.

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