Chennai, Dec 23: A 48-year-old self-styled godman, who had been operating from his Ashram as a fortune-teller and soothsayer, at suburban Velachery, was arrested here today.
Police sources said the godman, Palaniswamy, who had married thrice (his third wife being a doctor), was arrested at a temple at Acharapakkam, about 100 km from here this morning.
He was charged with attempt to murder, dowry harassment and criminal intimidation. He was later remanded to judicial custody.
The Godman's tryst with polygamy had ended much sooner than expected considering the enormous support he had from women in the area.
A complaint from his first wife that he had been cheating women and behaving in a lewd manner with them landed him in jail.
The arrest came a day after his doctor-wife, who arrived from New Delhi yesterday with him, stated that her husband was innocent and she had willingly married him after knowing well that he had already been married twice.
She also claimed that the consent of the first two wives had been obtained before the marriage.
Palaniswamy was initially a tea shop owner and married one Chandra. Later, he married Manimegalai. A few months later he turned himself into a fortune-teller in the neighbourhood and drew huge crowds. This helped him earn money and he developed contacts with a lot of women. Soon he set up an 'ashram' and continued his practice as a soothsayer.
As time passed, he started behaving in a lewd manner in the company of women visiting the ashram.
His first wife Chandra did not like this and took up cudgels against him. As his fortune telling business gained popularity, he did not heed to the appeals made by Chandra.
He was said to be an alcoholic and womaniser. He even seduced several women who visited his ashram by promising them a bright future.
The latest woman victim to fall at him was Divya, a doctor, whom he eventually married.
Following this, Divya's parents lodged a complaint with the police seeking to relieve their daughter from the clutches of the godman. But Divya said the charges levelled by Chandra against her husband were false.
As Chandra too followed suit with a complaint, police acted on it and arrested the Godman today.