Mumbai’s very own alleged sex and drugs cult came into limelight when three sets of parents accused Sunil Kulkarni, a psychiatrist by profession, of brainwashing young girls, giving them drugs and then sexually abusing them.
The Quint dove deep into the digital presence of the cult in the first part of this investigation.
GROUP OF FUTURE LIFE AWAKENING AND SOUL MAKING TRAINERS THROUGH— Dr.Sunil Kulkarni (@twitkulcon) December 15, 2016
NEURO PLASTICITY RESILIENCE TECHNIQUES.
On social media platforms, Kulkarni calls himself “a medical psychiatrist, clinical & organisational psychologist, corporate, motivational & positive health trainer”. Is he a prodigy or just a conman? The Quint traced Kulkarni’s digital presence to find out.
The Ghost Lecturer
On his Linkedin profile, Kulkarni claims he worked as a Director in Sharda University from March 2008 to March 2013. When The Quint called the university, the HR department and Chancellor’s office said that no such person had held the post.
On his profile on Meetup.com, Kulkarni says he was the Pro-Chancellor at Sharda University. The Chancellor’s office scoffed when The Quint attempted to verify this: “This is absolutely wrong information,” this reporter was told.
Speaking to Times of India last week, Kulkarni claimed he was also a Founder-Director of Amity Business School. Savita Mehta, Vice President, Communications at Amity Business School, told The Quint that no such person ever worked with them at that level.
This reporter also checked with Mithibai College and Galgotia Institute of Management & Technology, both colleges where Kulkarni claims to have been a frequent lecturer in “management consultancy”. Both colleges denied ever having him on campus. A 2005 report on Kulkarni by the police in a prior case lays down a pattern of Kulkarni’s fraudulent claims, weakening his current claims of having lectured at various IITs and IIMs across India. The report says:
[Kulkarni] claimed to be Consultant, Director, Professor etc with different institutions, colleges/schools such as IMT, Ghaziabad, DIM, New Delhi, MDI, Gurgaon, Fore School Management, Delhi, Symbiyosis Management Institute, Amity Business School, Noida, ITS Ghaziabad, Tata Management, YCADA, Pune, Manipal Institute of Medical Science, Sikkim, Medical College, Dehradoon, Starex International Schools, Delhi etc. and others. He used to dupe/impress the victims by his high-profile status and the contacts he claimed to have with different institutions.
What Channel Is It On?
In 2016, Kulkarni tweeted about launching what he called ‘Indian Fashion TV’ or IFTV.
We Are Launching a new promising Television Channel IFTV Indian Fashion Television. WE invite support pic.twitter.com/Y4rEq1D95w— Dr.Sunil Kulkarni (@twitkulcon) May 23, 2016
IFTV has a Facebook page, a Youtube channel and a website with videos and pictures of ‘IFTV models’ showing off their profile in home-made videos. Trouble is, there is no registered address for an office or a studio. Watch a troubling video by IFTV:
The FB page calls it "India’s first fashion satellite channel". However, as per the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s List of Permitted Private Satellite Channels as of 31 December 2016, no such channel exists. It’s simply a web-based project with social media to amplify Kulkarni’s open calls for young girls looking to make it in the fashion-TV-film industry.
IFTV Indian Fashion television is original indian concept to rule the world with our creativity. pic.twitter.com/iaAFbm94bJ— Dr.Sunil Kulkarni (@twitkulcon) May 23, 2016
When contacted, Sonia Chugh, listed as the channel’s Business Development Manager (in the tweet above), told The Quint that she had never heard of IFTV:
Sonia Chugh I never worked on IFTV or heard of it. I was with Fashion TV or FTV as a Business Development Manager when they were thinking of merging with MAAD Finishing School International (MAAD FSI) which Kulkarni runs. They wanted to start a Fashion Design school in Mumbai, but there was no talk of a Fashion TV channel. Ultimately, the deal fell through as there was no registration ID or address for MAAD FSI at all. Kulkarni had nothing but a name to give us and was approaching many colleges to partner with them. I left FTV in July 2015 and haven’t met him or spoken to him since.
An Unregistered Finishing School For Young Girls
MAAD FSI is one of the most problematic issues in Sunil Kulkarni’s background. His Linkedin profile states his primary employment as Chairman and Managing Director of the finishing school “targeted at meeting the requirements of Film, Fashion and TV industry.” They offer a three-year degree in ‘Performance Arts’ for Rs 2 lakh via Facebook Shopping, but that is all the information on that.
Sonia Chugh was right in saying there’s no address. No contact numbers or names either. No website for the institution. It’s a Facebook page with posts calling for girls and women looking for grooming, with a promise of launching them into beauty pageants, tv shows and films in ‘Mumbai’. If interested, send an email or message to the page with phone number; there is no other way to reach them.
Many posts on MAAD FSI announce the victory of small-time Malayalam actress, Kriti Kapoor wining a sub-award in Pantaloons Femina Miss India and a product of MAAD Finishing School. A quick search shows that while Kapoor won in 2011, the earliest digital traces of MAAD FSI appear only in 2015. Time Difference?
But a few posts announcing dance training or grooming courses for Femina Miss India, list three numbers which are the constant and only points of contact for Kulkarni’s activities. When put in Truecaller, the numbers belonged to a Bhavesh (switched off), one Anurag Khunger (out of network area) and a Yash Rajyaguru (no response).
Significantly, Anurag Khunger has given a key statement defending Kulkarni in the ongoing investigation. He told the Police that the Malad-based parents who accuse Kulkarni for brainwashing their daughters, in fact confined and tortured them in December 2016. As the elder daughter, Shivangi’s “friend”, he has claimed she texted him to rescue her and her sister, after which he and Kulkarni helped them “escape”.
The police must look into the involvement of Anurag, Yash, and Bhavesh with Kulkarni, even during the years before the cult, Shifu Sunkriti was formed. Is Anurag Shivangi’s friend first (or at all) or Kulkarni’s employee/accomplice?
Several Shell Companies
Next on his profile is the claim that his is the Managing Director of USK Hospitals & Medicare Private Limited. This may be, in fact, the only true statement made by him.
USK Hospitals and Medicare Pvt Ltd is registered as an active private company (limited) in New Delhi on 20 July 2010. However, according to information with the Registrar Of Companies, no Annual General Meeting (AGM) has happened till now, neither has any balance sheet been filed.
“This company does nothing, did nothing,” says Dr Mrs Alka Ranade, listed as the only other partner of this venture. A reputed Pune-based surgeon in obstetrics and gynaecology, Mrs Ranade was caught unaware when this reporter called to double-check the facts with her.
Dr Mrs Alka Ranade, “partner” of USK Hospitals & Medicare Pvt LtdSunil Kulkarni was a distant family friend from Nagpur. His parents threw him out 30 years ago. Five-six years ago, we were introduced through a friend when he mentioned setting up something [company]. Next I saw my name registered online as partner of this company. When I confronted him he said there was no activity in the company anyway and suggested I resign. So I resigned in 2015. I didn’t know I was still listed as a partner. I cut contact with him a few years ago when I found out his background.
The company has a Linkedin page which claims it provides “all healthcare services and medical education” and own several brands, including “Advaita Hospitals”, a ‘chain of super speciality hospitals in Delhi/NCR.
The Quint found that Advaita Hospitals has a registered address of ‘F-1, Block D, Kalindi Colony, New Friends Colony’ on Google. The website doesn’t work. When asked about Advaita Hospital in Delhi, Alka Ranade said: “There’s no such hospital.”
Searching for Advaita Hospital in Google Maps in Delhi, we noticed a Sunrise Hospital near the registered address. On calling Sunrise Hospital, this reporter found that the ‘address’ of Advaita Hospitals, was in fact, the address of Sunrise Hospital. There is no Advaita Hospital, or nursing institute or paramedic research facility.
Dr Ranade adds: “I knew something was not good. The company never did anything. He has many such empty companies, I don’t know why he has listed only this one.”
It is now for the Police to investigate into other possible shell companies set up by Kulkarni in Delhi and Mumbai and what they’re being used for.
Come & Joins us as Business partner of Hospital while practicing……— Dr.Sunil Kulkarni (@twitkulcon) August 17, 2010
ADVAITA HOSPITALS (Friends Medical Centre) , New Delhi is providing ser…
What The Cops Have So Far
After arresting Kulkarni on Thursday, Mumbai Police produced him in front of additional chief metropolitan magistrate R K Deshpande. They put forward evidence found against Kulkarni in a raid into his house in Mumbai’s hip locality, Bandra West, and results of preliminary investigation into him by the Crime Branch.
In court, the police told the judge that though Kulkarni claimed he did his MD in Psychiatry from Indira Gandhi Govt Medical College in Nagpur University, the Maharashtra Medical Council has denied any registration in the name of Sunil Sadashiv Kulkarni. His Linkedin profile, strangely, says he did his MD from Pune University.
Not Just 2016, There’s Fraud In 2005 Also
The Crime Branch received further information about a prior arrest Kulkarni had in New Delhi in 2016, when a 17-year-old girl accused him of raping her for two years after promising her a Bollywood career. He was charged under the Prevention of Child Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO), but on getting bail he shifted base to Mumbai.
However, what has faded into oblivion – in media and police memory – is a 2005 case in New Delhi in which he was arrested for running an admission racket in which he duped several parents of lakhs of rupees on the false promise of getting their children admitted into prestigious colleges.
A press release from 2005 in the Zonal Integrated Police Network also states that back then he was also facing a trial for depositing Rs 45 lakh worth of forged cheques, a recovery suit for Rs 2.5 lakhs by another doctor and had defaulted on his car loan from Standard Chartered Bank. The release also highlights how Kulkarni claimed to have the “educational qualifications of MBBS, MD, MA, Ph. D, MIRPM, DBM, DPH, DPA, DSW, Certificate in Dramatics etc” which he used to dupe people into trusting him.
It is imperative that the Police take into account Kulkarni’s full history of fraud and violence into account while investigating this case, because he seems to have moved on from fake cheques to a full-fledged sex and drugs cult.