Six tantriks claiming to wield divine powers to make money rain from trees were detained by police here in Maharashtra on Thursday on charges of attempting to cheat local villagers.
The tantriks -- including two women -- were among 30 who had come from Gujarat a couple of days ago to Vikramgad town in this border district.
They proclaimed that by their rituals, they could make money rain from trees, police station head S.N. Nandgaonkar told media persons.
Sitting in specially erected pandals (marquees), they solicited money from villagers with allurements that huge amounts of cash would rain from trees and buried treasures would be found after they performed certain rituals, the official said.
Police recovered wads of fake currency notes of denomination Rs.1,000 and Rs.500, knives, human skulls and other paraphernalia from them.
Investigation by plainclothes policemen revealed that the tantriks would hide the fake currency on trees or underground and later tried to cheat the gullible villagers, from whom they collected genuine currency notes.
"We suspect it could be a bigger racket, with many more people being involved with them. It may also include the possibility of human sacrifices," the police officer said.
The tantriks targeted the Jawahar, Mokhada and Vikramgad areas, with a predominantly illiterate tribal population.
Police have sent the skulls and bones for forensic tests to determine their genuineness and also whether they were recovered from cemeteries and crematoria.