A 70-year-old Chatsworth pensioner claims she was hit with a knuckle buster, bound with cable ties, almost suffocated to death and robbed by a spiritual head of a well-known local temple in December last year.
Following her traumatic experience, Indra Francis, has now decided to break her silence on the horrific ordeal that she faced more than four months ago, in her home in Powerline Street in Westcliff. She said that she hopes that the spiritual head and his accomplice who allegedly tried to brutally murder her, faces the full might of the law.
Forty nine- year-old Shunmugam Pillay, who also goes by the name of Swami Nrsimha, a name which was given to him when he entered the holy order of Swami’s, has been charged with house break-in, and robbery with aggravated circumstances. He was recently granted bail of R5, 000 at the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court in January.
He will reappear in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on April 20. According to Francis, Swami Nrsimha approached her together with some of her neighbours’, asking for accommodation for a short while. Trusting her neighbours’ perception of the man to be very devout and also being a spiritual head, she allowed him to board in a spare room for a few weeks. Upon asking him to leave, he became furious and in a fit of rage, allegedly assaulted her.
Francis goes on to describe how the alleged brutal attack occurred. “It was about 7:15pm when I got into bed to turn in for the night. I just put the lights off and got into bed when I felt the presence of someone sitting by the side of my bed. I looked to the side of me and saw the Guru, who had been boarding in my house. Earlier, I had asked him to leave as he was only supposed to be temporarily living in my house. He had cut a spare key, which he used to gain entry into my home. My son was sleeping in his room, which is far from my bedroom. I was so shocked to see Pillay at my bedside so I screamed at him and asked ‘What are you doing here?’ He then punched me in the face. The next thing I knew, I woke up in a hospital bed in severe pain,” Francis said.
Her daughter, Yogie Naidoo, also claimed her mother was found by neighbours with cable ties binding her hands behind her body and with a pillow over her head. “We believe that the accused, the Guru, would have killed her if he had not been disturbed by my brother, who had come to my mother’s rescue. My brother was also tied up with cable ties and he was wrapped in a blanket, before the accused and his accomplice could make their escape. They got away with about R50, 000 in cash, and over R300, 000 in jewellery. When we got to my mum’s house, we were shocked and traumatised to see her in that condition. She was covered with blood. We had to dispose of the bed she was sleeping in at the time of the assault because it was soaked with blood. My mother suffered a fractured skull, her facial bones were broken, her nose had been bust, and she had also been bleeding from her mouth due to the severe facial injuries. She had suffered a stroke a few months prior to the gruesome attack and we were afraid that she would not pull through this, but with the grace of God, she did. We are thankful that she is alive and we hope that the justice system does not fail us. We are disgusted that the accused was granted bail. He is dangerous and should face the full might of the law,” she said.
Francis’ attorney, Mervin Dorasamy, confirmed the case. “The accused had been granted bail under various conditions including handing over his passport to the investigating officer. He has only been charged with house robbery with aggravating circumstances, however, the assault during the incident was so serious that the prosecution will decide if an attempted murder charge will be added to his charges.”
Pillay was contacted for a comment, and claimed that he was falsely and unlawfully arrested.
Source: Rising Sun Chatsworth