Indian spiritual leader Anand Giri was on Sunday arrested from Oxley Park suburb of Sydney for allegedly assaulting two women. Giri was produced in court on Monday, SBS reported.
“In November 2018, a 38-year-old man [Giri] attended a home in Rooty Hill, where he met a 34-year-old woman in the lounge room of the home for prayers,” a police officer said. “The man allegedly indecently assaulted the woman.” On January 1, 2016, Giri allegedly assaulted a 29-year-old woman at another home in the same suburb, the officer said.
Giri, a priest at the Bade Hanuman temple in Prayagraj city in Uttar Pradesh, was on a tour of Australia. He was known to both complainants, the police said.
The Paramatta Court in Sydney refused Giri bail on Monday. He was remanded in police custody, and ordered to appear at Mt Drutt Court on June 26, the police said.
Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad chief Narendra Giri confirmed that Anand Giri had been arrested, the Hindustan Times reported. Narendra Giri added that the women complained to the police that Anand Giri touched them without their consent. He said that the women, both Indians, had visited the Kumbh Mela earlier this year. Narendra Giri claimed that the complainants had an argument with Anand Giri over some matter in Australia, and then accused him of assault.
“Our people in Australia are in contact with authorities and a bail application has again been filed, the hearing on which has been fixed for Wednesday,” Narendra Giri said. “We will also seek the help of the Indian embassy in Australia and the ministry of foreign affairs if necessary.”
Anand Giri had posted a photograph with Union minister VK Singh at the Kumbh Mela in February this year, on Facebook. His Facebook account also has pictures with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, among other politicians.