‘Living God’ accused of rape claims his ‘miracles’ were just ‘magic tricks’

‘Living God’ Rajinder Kalia has denied sexually abusing his followers (Picture: Champion News)

An alleged cult leader accused of declaring himself a ‘living God’ in order to sexually abuse his followers says the ‘miracles’ he performed to prove his divinity were in fact just ‘magic tricks’ meant to entertain.

Rajinder Kalia is being sued in the High Court over claims he ‘groomed’ members of his temple to believe he is ‘an incarnation of God,’ while subjecting women and children as young as four to horrific sexual abuse.

Mr Kalia – head priest at his Hindu-based temple in Coventry – allegedly performed ‘miracles’, including setting fire to water and squeezing blood from a lemon, to convince devotees.

The claimants’ barrister, Mark Jones, put to him that he had performed the ‘tricks’ in order to persuade followers that he has ‘supernatural powers.’

But Kalia denied all the allegations against him and told the court he was merely ‘entertaining’ his followers.

‘It is entertainment,’ he told the judge, Mr Justice Martin Spencer, before adding in response to cross-examination: ‘Does a magician tell about his abilities?’

 ‘I have told you before,’ he added. ‘I was entertaining.’

The guru is accused of sexually abusing four female followers (Picture: Central News)

Giving evidence this week, Kalia, 68, denied all the allegations against him, and said claims of his divinity were part of a ‘conspiracy’ to extort him of millions.

‘The claimants have fabricated stories, and have lied, in order to extort money from me,’ he told the judge, Mr Justice Martin Spencer.

‘I have never claimed to be divine, to have a direct link to God, to be a manifestation of God, or to be an incarnation of God, as alleged by the claimants.

Kalia claimed he was merely the ‘figurehead’ of his temple, and added: ‘I have never said that I can cure people or animals from illnesses or life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, nor have I ever charged a fee for praying to God for someone – or something – to get better, as alleged.’

The priest said one of the claimants had alleged to have been ‘coerced’ into paying £5,000 for him to obtain a cure for her dog’s cancer, which he said was ‘entirely made up.’

Four women are now suing Kalia over claims he sexually abused them, while they and three other former devotees also claimed financial exploitation, although two of the latter cases have since been struck out.

The former worshippers want millions in compensation.

Kalia claims his alleged ‘miracles’ were just ‘magic tricks’ to entertain his followers (Picture: Champion News)

They claim Kalia ‘portrayed himself as an incarnation of God and/or the divine’ through his performance of ‘purported miracles,’ including asserting he had a power of healing.

It was alleged that he claimed to be infallible, that his ‘utterances were to be obeyed without question’ and that to question his authority was to be unworthy, putting them ‘in dire peril of eternal damnation through a cycle of birth and rebirth.’

Sexual abuse began against three of the women when they were underage, it is claimed.

Giving evidence earlier in the trial, one of the four women alleging sexual abuse described Mr Kalia as a ‘devil’ in disguise.

‘He isn’t an incarnation of God, he is the devil,’ she told the judge. ‘I was groomed by him to believe he was God, because I was a child when I went to him.’

One of the women had claimed in her witness evidence that he told her that if she did not make him happy, she would be ‘damned to hell’ and ‘horrifically disabled in all future lives.’

One alleged victim told the court: ‘I came to explain to the judge what [Kalia] has done.

Kalia allegedly indoctrinated his devotees to believe he was ‘an incarnation of God’, using his power and influence to groom worshippers at the Baba Balak Nath temple in Bell Green, Coventry (Picture: Neil Sears)

‘He made us slaves. We were slaves to him. We were nothing. He used my daughters for sex. He assaulted them without asking them.

One alleged victim claims to have been sexually abused more than 1,320 times over two decades, and another said she suffered abuse as a child which made her fail her school exams.

A third said her virginity was taken in a rape in a Birmingham hotel and the fourth claims to have been hugged and kissed inappropriately when she was as young as four, before having her virginity taken as a young adult.

But Mr Kalia denied the accusations, and all the others, telling the judge: ‘I have never said to…anyone…that sexual relations with a head priest, or “Guru”, is purifying or will keep a person “pure”.

‘There is no such thing as hell in Hinduism and I do not have theological jurisdiction to punish or disable someone in a future life.’

He claimed that, having discovered his wealth, the complainants had come up with a ‘plan to make false allegations against me’ in order to ‘extort me for money.’

‘The claimants have been fundamentally dishonest,’ he said.

One of his alleged vicims claims he began grooming her from age four

The trial began last month, with Mr Kalia facing allegations of financial and sexual abuse by four female former worshippers, and three more of financial abuse by other former members of his temple.

But two of the latter cases were dramatically thrown out by the judge last week over irregularities relating to their witness statements.

The pair had alleged they had been ‘psychologically dominated’ by Mr Kalia so that they handed over £276,000 to him or for his benefit, while also performing huge amounts of unpaid work.

However, their claims were struck out after it emerged that, despite signing witness statements and other claim documents and confirming their truth, neither of the pair can speak, read or write English, or even read in their own Punjabi language.

The judge said there was ‘no acceptable explanation’ for how the issue could have happened and not discovered until several days into the trial, adding that it was ‘virtually contemptuous of the proceedings of this court.’

The cases of the four women claiming sexual abuse and the one other former temple member claiming financial abuse are ongoing.

Mr Kalia began preaching in 1983 after moving to the UK from India in 1977 and claimed to have experienced a miracle as a teenager which brought him closer to the divine.

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