Alocal court on Friday sentenced a woman and two others to six years’ rigorous imprisonment for abetting the suicide of spiritual leader Bhaiyyu Maharaj three years ago.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Soni convicted Palak Puranik (28), Vinayak Dudhade (45) and Sharad Deshmukh (37) under IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 306 (abetment of suicide) and 384 (extortion).
On June 12, 2018, Bhaiyyu Maharaj (50), born Uday Singh Deshmukh, shot himself with his licensed revolver at his bungalow here. The suicide made headlines as Maharaj was a high-profile spiritual figure and some prominent politicians from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra were among his followers.
Puranik, Dudhade and Sharad Deshmukh were arrested seven months after his death.
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Police alleged that Puranik was trying to blackmail Maharaj, who was already married, into marrying her, using some controversial chats and souvenirs which she possessed.
A suicide note recovered from Maharaj’s house said he was ending life due to enormous stress.
Police had also claimed that the trio used to give overdose of sleeping pills to him.