Devotee 'Tricked Woman Into Sex'


The (London) Times, July 5, 2000

By Simon De Bruxelles


A Follower of an Indian guru tricked a woman into having sex with him by promising that it would cure her "bad vibrations", a court was told yesterday.

Priyakant Shah, 47, a shopkeeper from Plymouth, allegedly persuaded the mother of three that he was a messenger from the Hindu mystic Sai Baba and he had been ordered in a dream to have sex with her. His alleged victim, who is also of Asian origin, told Plymouth Crown Court that the relationship began after Mr Shah had "engineered" her divorce from her husband, whom she subsequently remarried.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she met Mr Shah in the mid-1980s when he ran a temple in South London devoted to the worship of the 73-year-old guru who claims 30 million followers worldwide.

The woman, who was 37 or 38 at the time, said Mr Shah persuaded her to leave her husband and take her daughters to live in a flat above his shop in Plymouth.

She said: "I had been praying in the prayer room and Shah was asleep on a bed in there. As I prayed, I heard him say 'No, Baba, no, Swami, I cannot do that'.

"I asked him later what he meant and he told me that I would not believe it, but Baba had said he had worked so hard with me but I was still carrying bad vibrations and that he had to have physical contact with me.

"I asked him what he meant and he said he had to have sexual intercourse with me. It was the only way the bad vibrations would come out. I said 'no way'."

She said she woke later to find Mr Shah naked by her bedside and he had made her have sex with him.

Mr Shah denies two charges of procuring a woman to have sex by false pretences and one of indecently assaulting one of her daughters, who was 12 or 13 at the time.