TORONTO — An Indian man living in Toronto was charged with pretending to practice witchcraft after he allegedly convinced a client to pay him $101,000 to remove an evil spirit.
Toronto police said that Murali Muthyalu — who also went by Master Raghav — advertised psychic readings for $20 by handing out business cards in shopping malls and placing them in mailboxes between February and March 2017.
When the victim, a 44-year-old Brampton man, visited the Sri Gayatri Astrological Center near Islington Avenue and Albion Road on Feb. 1, he was told that his daughter was carrying an evil spirit.
In an online ad, the Sri Gayatri Astrological Center advertises the removal of “black magic evil spirits” while also promising to solve everything from “love” to “money and court problems.” The ad also offers a 100 per cent guarantee.
Muthyalu, who has been in Canada for less than a year, allegedly convinced the man to pay him to attempt to remove the spirit. When he’d perform the ritual and it wouldn’t work, police said Muthyalu convinced the victim to try multiple techniques. For each ceremony, Muthyalu’s prices increased, police said, until the victim had spent a total of $101,000.
Police wouldn’t detail what types of rituals Muthyalu was performing, but the victim’s daughter was present for most of them.
When the victim realized his daughter’s health wasn’t improving, he deduced that Muthyalu was a fraud and called police. Muthyalu was charged Thursday with pretending to practice witchcraft, fraud over $5,000 and extortion.
While witchcraft charges are rare in Canada, the law that is mostly considered to be archaic is still…
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