'Witchcraft' case gets instant attention of astrologers, palmists.. '

Wednesday September 22 2010

An alleged witchcraft practitioner, who claimed to have the ability to change people's future with 'black magic,' is now seeking God's help in police custody.
Forty-four-year-old Yogendra Pathak of Brampton was last week arrested for fraud and pretending to practice witchcraft after police received at least one complaint of cheating and defrauding a family.

"He was offering to practice 'magic' in solving people's problems and was charging money for that," Peel Regional Police's Sgt Zahir Shah told Focus.

At his residence situated at 23 Richgrove Drive (Castlemore Rd&Goreway Dr) in Brampton, Pathak was offering to solve, with guarantee, a range of problems such as disputes or barriers in marriages, love affairs and several health related issues by healing a person spiritually.

In his public advertisements, the suspect described himself as a renowned Kenyan astrologist, palmist, gifted psychic and spiritual healer.

He also claimed to have the ability to clear any barriers in issues such as immigration, unemployment, financial problems as well as helping students in academic careers and examinations.

The case is being watched closely by some who fear any fallout could inevitably impact them.

Pandit Prithipal, another well-known service provider in the GTA, said roughly 200-300 people are currently practicing astrology to help clients in different ways.

Apart from South Asians, communities from the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and elsewhere also offer parallel services.

Sgt Shah agreed there are other people who are also offering the same kind of services, but said: "We cannot act unless we have a complaint."

A matter of 'chemical imbalance'

Prithipal said he has been practising for more than 30 years but not a single person complained or got upset with him.

About others, Prithipal said: "I don't know which one of them is genuine or fraudâ?¦ these numbers are huge, but I can tell you about myself that I offer services of advising in good faith as how to heal from a 'chemical imbalance.'"

He said that actually clients suffer from 'chemical imbalance' due to which they feel sick and disturbed. "This 'chemical imbalance' can be fixed through eating healthy foods like colourful vegetablesâ?¦ and that's what I advise," said Prithipal.

Police believe Pathak has been offering these services for well over a year and are trying to determine how many people may have been victimized due to the suspect's alleged actions.

He has been charged with one count of fraud under $5,000 and one count of pretending to practice witchcraft and will be making a court appearance Oct 7.

Anyone who may have been victimized by the suspect, or who may have information pertaining to this investigation, is asked to contact the 21 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau at 905-453-2121, ext 2133 or Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).