On January 30, Mumbai’s RAK Marg Police in Sewri took action against Abubakar Mohammad Ali Shaikh, a self-styled Muslim ‘godman,’ for allegedly deceiving multiple individuals under false pretences. The complaint, filed by one of the victims, accuses Shaikh of exploiting people by promising cures for severe illnesses, facilitating US visas, and resolving marital issues through fraudulent means.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), a Muslim woman from RAK Marg sought Shaikh’s assistance due to her chronic body pain, which had not improved despite medical treatments. Shaikh purportedly claimed that he could alleviate her pain within 40 days using ‘black magic’ rituals but demanded Rs 4 lakh in cash along with gold. He also promised to conduct animal sacrifices and make donations at Dargahs as part of the healing process.
The victim alleged that Shaikh provided her with two ‘Taweez’ (amulets), instructing her to place them in specific locations in her house. Additionally, she handed over two tolas of gold, including earrings and a mangalsutra, along with Rs 50,000 in cash to Shaikh on March 23 of the previous year.
Subsequently, the complainant approached Shaikh again to resolve familial disputes and secure a job in the US for her son, for which he demanded Rs 1.70 lakh from her relative. Despite receiving the funds, Shaikh failed to deliver on his promises, leading to financial losses for the victims.
Shaikh further exploited the situation by offering false remedies to a cancer patient and accepting money from another individual to stop a baby from crying. Collectively, the victims suffered losses amounting to Rs 6,12,000 in cash and 230 grams of gold valued at Rs 11,50,000.
The 32-year-old Shaikh faces charges under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, along with section 3 of the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013.
Despite assurances from Shaikh to return the money, the victims received no relief. Consequently, the police initiated an investigation into the matter and are gathering evidence to proceed with legal action.
On February 1, Hindustan Times published an article about the FIR against Shaikh with a headline referring to him as a ‘Tantrik.’ This choice of wording sparked criticism from netizens, who accused the publication of attempting to conceal Shaikh’s religious identity by using a generic term. Supreme Court lawyer Shashank Shekhar Jha condemned the publication’s actions, highlighting the need for accurate reporting and transparency in media coverage.