Godman held for sexually exploiting children denied bail

Muzaffarnagar: A self-styled godman arrested for sexually exploiting children in his ashram at Shukartal near here was denied bail on Wednesday by a special court trying cases of crime against children.

Special Judge Sanjiv Kumar Tiwari denied bail to Swami Bhakti Bhushan Maharaj, saying that the charges against the accused are serious and he deserves no bail at this juncture.

Maharaj, the owner of an ashram at Shukartal near here was arrested last month along with his disciple Kishan Mohan Das for allegedly sexually exploiting children and forcing them to work as labourers, said prosecution counsel Dinesh Sharma.

They had been booked under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 377 (unnatural offences), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and sections 5/6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

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The police had filed the charge-sheet against the accused earlier this month, said the prosecution counsel, adding the victim children, who belonged to Tripura and Mizoram, are presently under the protection of the Child Welfare Board.

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