Is Sai Baba’s Governmental Influence ‘Miraculous’?
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 1, 2007
Yesterday’s blog, HERE, noted the Indian magazine Business Standard news current report that the Sathya Sai Central Trust is putting Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi airport up for sale. It was revealing to find an old 1998 Indian Express report that saw corrupt links between Sai Baba’s chief representatives and a then Civil Aviation boss. Most Indian publications have long suffered their publisher’s censorship against reports adverse to Sathya Sai Baba. As the Editor of one of India’s leading newspapers told me: Sai Baba is too powerful, with so many devotees all over India. Likely to have been all too little noticed, then, was a report filed in the Indian Express in February 1998 by reporter Swati Chaturvedi. It points to corrupt origins in the sanctioning of the Sathya Sai airport. What the Swati Chaturvedi article does not mention is that the then Civil Aviation Secretary, M.K. Kaw, is a Sai Baba devotee. M.K. Kaw, Sai Baba Man.
On the Radio Sai website, Krishen Kaw’s connections with Sai Baba are more than demonstrated by a photo picturing him kneeling before Sai Baba, and a photo of his family with their guru. This appears in a Radio Sai newsletter – see HERE. This tool relates to Radio Sai Global Harmony via the WorldSpace Corporation satellite service, which is Sai Baba’s international satellite radio outlet. It is headed by the deputy world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization, Dr G. Venkataraman, and former Indian nuclear scientist. See my article Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman.
The M.K. Kaw article, The Bliss of His Presence, is carried by Radio Sai but its source is a big Indian newspaper, Mathrubhumi, in the South Indian state of Kerala, whose wealthy and powerful proprietors, and their families, are long-time staunch devotees of Sai Baba
Below, I have highlighted in red some salient points.
07 February 1998
NEW DELHI, February 6: It took barely 48 hours for Civil Aviation Secretary M.K. Kaw to clear an international cargo hub at the Sai Baba Trust-run airport at Puttaparthi in Karnataka. Kaw also directed that all help from the Government, including setting up a customs office, be provided to the private trust.Now, Minister of State Jayanthi Natarajan has decided that his order is “malafide” and has set it aside. The matter is now with Cabinet Minister C M Ibrahim who has decided to hold the order in “abeyance”.When contacted, Natarajan confirmed that Kaw’s order had been overruled and the matter referred to Ibrahim. Kaw refused to comment. In the process of clearance, Kaw has bypassed both the Ministers. The file mentions that “the Ministers (C M Ibrahim and Jayanthi Natarajan) need not be bothered”. Kaw also set aside the mandatory techno-feasibility study despite, the concerned Joint Secretary noting on the file that the matter be referred to the Ministers for sanction. The sequence of eventswhich culminated in the clearance is revealing.September 17: Sai Baba Trust applies to the Civil Aviation Ministry to set up an international cargo hub in Puttaparthi.September 18: Joint Secretary directs that the matter be referred to the MoS and Minister. File placed before the Secretary.Kaw overrules the JS and gives formal clearance on the “bare letter” sent by the Trust. Regarding the reference to the two Ministers Kaw notes: “The Ministers need not be bothered”.September 20: Natarajan received complaints. She calls Kaw who is “not available”. Natarajan directs that the Puttaparthi file be sent to her.September 21: File sent to MoS. Irate Natarajan notes on file (a) “When did I delegate my authority to you (Kaw) (B) All airport proposals have to be referred to the Union Cabinet. (C) Why have you made full commitments on behalf of the GOI.” Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.Further ReadingSathya Sai airport ‘white elephant’ for sale! Article by Robert PriddyThe Decline and Fall of The Showman Empire Article by Barry Pittard