The accused, Narayani of Perumbakkam, was picked up from her hideout and remanded while pawnbroker Rathan Lal (52) and his son Hemanth Nath (19) of Palavakkam were arrested for melting the jewellery pledged by Narayani and selling them despite knowing well that they were stolen valuables. Officials said Narayani used to visit the darga on Anna Salai often and aped their method to con people.
The complainant is Sivakumar, a businessman of Palavakkam, whose wife had died in 2018 after her saree caught fire while cooking. Narayani, who visited her daughter Amudhalakshmi in Palavakkam, met Sivakumar and told him that the reason for his wife’s death was due to the evil spirits activated against their family. After she ‘cured’ the illness of one of his relatives, Sivakumar trusted Narayani and decided to perform remedial puja as she suggested.
Apart from the fee for performing the puja, Narayani collected 11.5 sovereigns on the promise of returning it in 45 days but did not return the jewels even after that. Later, she allegedly told Sivakumar that the jewels had to be kept for puja for a year. She then collected jewels from Sivakumar’s relatives who visited the house, claiming that the gold would otherwise carry the evil spirits to their houses.
As she did not return the jewels even after a year, Sivakumar started asking Narayani to give it back. However, instead of returning the valuables, she went into hiding.