Thane: A court here has sentenced three brothers from Maharashtra's Palghar district to seven years of rigorous imprisonment for physically torturing patients at the de-addiction centre run by them and also for practising black magic on them.
Thane district court judge Shailendra Tambe, in his order passed on Wednesday, also imposed a fine of Rs 1.2 lakh on each of the convicts Kantilal Purushottam Deshmukh (52), Nandkumar (58) and Umesh (46).
Additional public prosecutor Rekha Hiwrale told the court that the trio ran Om Shiv Arogyadham Daru Mukti Kendra, a de-addiction centre in Wada, which was previously in Thane district.
They used to beat patients with belts and other things. They used to threaten victims that if they don't follow directions, they would undergo pain and also face consequences. This continued between 2010 and 2015, she said.
The court relied on the statements given by over a dozen victims and inspector Sanjay Hazare, who investigated the case.
Hazare told the court that a dozen victims and their relatives, who had come to the de-addiction center, were mercilessly beaten in the name of driving away evil spirits.
The court found the trio guilty under IPC sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and also under sections of the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013.
In the order, the judge said that the trio duped the patients as they collected money from them, but gave inhuman treatment to them.
"That de-addiction centre is a place of mental torture. In the name of de-addiction, the accused violated human rights and physically tortured victims. It is not managed by professionals or trained people," the judge said.
"The accused played with the lives of alcoholic persons and other victims, who come from a poor family, doing labour and agricultural work," he said.