Call For Media and Government Investigation

of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

Posts Tagged ‘Corruption’

Cults and Corruption In India: Young, Articulate Voices Speak Out – Ignoring the Risks

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 25, 2012

In my article Exposing Cultic, Political and Other Corruptions: India Stirs  (Barry Pittard, August 6, 2012), I referred to the continuing groundswell of popular cross-party agitation in India against massive government and corporate corruption. For those who can afford an hour of concentrated viewing, I recommended viewing the excellent academic and activist Vivek Srinivasan’s Designing Technology to Combat Corruption    PGJ, Program on Liberation Technology Seminar Series20 January 2011

Leaders of this widespread public movement (slightly analogous to ‘Occupy Movement’ in western countries), show the courage so lacking – I deeply regret to say – in almost all of my former students and teaching colleagues in Sathya Sai college education, who for decades knew of the sexual, financial and other terrible abuses that Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his core leaders perpetrated. In the above article, I wrote

It may well be that – as the older members of the Sathya Sai Baba cult get old and die – the Sathya Sai Baba cult will take new turnings. It hard to predict at the moment. In any case, especially younger generations will need to be alert. So to speak, creatures thought dead at last can arise, yet again – if not in quite the same form – from the old slime of their dark lagoons. As far as recent Indian polls go, Sathya Sai Baba is dead to India at large.  See:  The Greatest Indians since Gandhi nominated – & Sathya Sai Baba? But our vigilance should never die.  See also:  ‘Face the Nation’ Audience Poll, India – 87% Hostile to Gurus Like Sathya Sai Baba

In marked contrast to those of my former students and colleagues – who forever made noble speeches about fearless practice of truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence – a young Indian citizen in IT, the capable and articulate Srikanth Uppuluri has taken his personal safety in his own hands, and is regularly speaking out, from a significant degree of first hand experience, in his blog:  Sai Baba Deceptions and Fraud

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Exposing Cultic, Political and Other Corruptions: India Stirs

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 6, 2012

It may well be that – as the older members of the Sathya Sai Baba cult get old and die – the Sathya Sai Baba cult will take new turnings. It hard to predict at the moment. In any case, especially younger generations will need to be alert. So to speak, creatures thought dead at last can arise, yet again – if not in quite the same form – from the old slime of their dark lagoons. As far as recent Indian polls go, Sathya Sai Baba is dead to India at large.  See:  The Greatest Indians since Gandhi nominated – & Sathya Sai Baba? But our vigilance should never die.  See also:  ‘Face the Nation’ Audience Poll, India – 87% Hostile to Gurus Like Sathya Sai Baba

Young people faced with gurus and other feet-of-clay mentors who seem so full of light will need to see via the light of their own rational questioning. All of us need to question our values such as any misplaced ‘political correctness’ and nebulous notions of ‘freedom of religion’. We need to challenge essentially corrupt, autocratic, backward-looking cults like international Sathya Sai Organization. These threaten genuine freedom and the health of society at large.  The foes of the ‘open society’ (in Sir Karl Popper’s term) are those who use its very openness to achieve their closed and devious ends. See Robert Priddy’s and my extensive four-part article:  The Sathya Sai Organization’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed

In India, challenge to corruption widely stirs. One of the great complicitors in protecting Sathya Sai Baba and his cult, the present Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was further tarnished by the violent manner in which he responded to widely peaceful and articulate anti-corruption protests. See my articles: Anna Hazare’s Arrest. Dark Days For Indian Democracy, August 17, 2011, and: UK In Flames. But Not India. Anna Hazare Sets Example Of Peaceful ProtestAugust 17, 2011.

NEW DELHI: Civil society’s battle against corruption acquired its sharpest edge ever on Tuesday as veteran social activist Anna Hazare began a fast unto death at the capital’s landmark Jantar Mantar demanding greater public role in the Anti-Corruption Bill (Lokpal Bill), which has now been considered and put aside by successive regimes for the last 42 years.
Anna Hazare ignored several pleas of the government to defer his fast as he stood firm on his demand for a joint committee comprising government and civil society leaders to rework the current draft Lokpal Bill. He maintained that the current Bill covering only politicians was inadequate as politicians often colluded with officials to indulge in corruption. , 22 August, 2011.

India is still in many ways profoundly gerontocratic. In a deeply traditionalist country, (mainly) old (mainly) men, preponderantly, have consummate skills in retaining  power. This deadly hand of state is not first mediated via external exercise of political power, but unreflectively rooted in practically every home, and in every caste and class, and, in turn, in thousands of years of history.  The internet generation of India’s young is, of course, extraordinarily IT savvy. Superficially, it may all seem like a grand silicon break from the iron grip of hidebound past. But these young people (often bright, charming and delightful when I meet them to this day) are, effectively, the all-too-unwitting toys of rulers who are old, and who can use all the old tricks of control.  Or rather – one should say – of mind and soul binding. Especially is this so in the use of religion, the caste system, nepotism, arranged marriages, etc., to keep things much the way the corrupt and canny old players of statecraft want. If one wants to understand them better, read the  ‘Arthaśāstra’ of Chanakya, who pre-dated his kindred spirit in renaissance Italy Machiavelli by 1800 years.

Anti-corruption campaigners protest in India as Anna Hazare continues to attract crowds in New Delhi even though he announced on Thursday evening that he will end his ‘Fast Unto Death’ on Friday.
People gathered at the site of the Anna Hazare agitation in New Delhi despite the anti-graft campaigner’s announcement that he will end the stir on Friday. Hazare has been on a fast-unto-death till the government ratifies an anti-graft law that provides for prosecuting senior politicians, including the Prime Minister, and bureaucrats for corruption. http://www.demotix.com/news

Too often in India, both the heroes (slender in number, as always and everywhere) and the villains are old, and – at other times – a damn sight older.  An ageing anti-corruption crusader like Anna Hazare is like – in a certain sense – a re-visitation from Mahatma Gandhi. A much younger crusader, who uses analogous methods, is Swami Ramdev, who has had, to date, not nearly the same clout as Hazare. The operant factors are complex, although the remarks of Sushant Kumar, a young, perceptive Indian commentator, are worth reading, as are his other blogs.  He suggests that a major reason for the larger celebrity line-up behind Hazare may be that the latter, unlike Ramdev, poses no sexy superstardom sort of challenge to them.  See:  Baba Ramdev, Anna Hazare & Social Media – Difference of opinion, by 

Difference in the sentiment of twitter users towards Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev
January 20, 2011 – Program on Liberation Technology News.
***
It is also good to see contributions of educated, young Indians like Vivek Srinivasan (see below) expertly and pragmatically discussing the potentials of IT (and other systems) in combatting corruption.  It is for a long, sad while that I have sought any of my former students at the Sri Sathya Sai College of the Arts, Science and Commerce, via Bangalore, Karnataka who would fit among the research-based and courageous activists of whom Vivek Srinivasan speaks.
Some of the researchers into social inequality and corruption are no strangers to being beaten up. One of them is quoted as saying:  “I would rather give up my life than give up my papers”! By no means are technical means of corruption exposure at all expensive. Many methods are essentially simple and within the grasp of many or of most. They can be very imaginative and resourceful. (Some examples of the success of a handful of us in exposing worldwide, give evidence of this – especially, of course, the internet – in bringing down Sathya Sai Baba and his cult. The younger generation now have far more tools, great and small, than our activists have had available to us).
A lengthy, lively, at times interactive discussion excellently led by Vivek Srinivasan is here:  

In a few days, I’ll refer to Vivek Srinivasan’s article on the role of technology in combatting corruption:  

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The Sathya Sai Cult – A Moral Low Ground Wilderness

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 8, 2012

Deeply corrupt himself, and with an inner circle of corrupt men in support, Sathya Sai Baba was in no good shape to forge the universal spiritual and ethical transformation of which he so often spoke.

United Nations and human rights studies reveal an India steeped in endemic corruption and social injustice. He who said that he would transform the whole world in his own lifetime died in a morass of shame. This was so great that, for once, his spin doctors, backroom hacks, editorial weeders, and devotees placed in countless positions of great power were not able to prevent the facts from being reported in an Indian media that for so long had almost entirely suppressed reports unfavourable to him. See:

Sathya Sai Trust In Vast Treasure Scandals: Secret Temple, Van, and Bus Stashes

Exposé writer Barry Pittard on the latest Trust and treasure scandals

Relative Weightings of Allegation and Proof In Exposing Corrupt Institutions (Pt1)

Relative Weightings of Allegation and Proof In Exposing Corrupt Institutions (Pt2)

In countries where we can still look to many judges for the utmost probity, such an individual as  one of Sai Baba’s long-serving Sathya Sai Central Trust members, Ex-Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagwati, would long ago have been exposed. He now has to live out his last remaining days in great ignominy before a nation today far better apprised of the Sathya Sai cult corruptions. 

See:

Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement”

On Sathya Sai Baba: Times of India, Ex-Chief Justice Interview. What Judge Would So Opine?

Indian Ex-Chief Justice Bhagwati – by a former contact

Indian Ex-Chief Justice: “Wild, Reckless Claims” about Sathya Sai Baba

On the work of Sai Baba’s editors forced to great pains to remove, and at least downplay, inasmuch as they could manage, his many statements over decades that were egregiously contradictory, confused and historically and scientific erroneous or prophecies and promises that did not cut the mustard, see:

The Quiet Weeding Out Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Embarrassing Statements

The scholarly articles of Brian Steel are notable, as in other respects, in elucidating the official tampering with Sathya Sai history. See the Sai Organization’s attempts at ‘Downgrading Divinity’ by Brian Steel.  

See also a summary of his most enormous claims about himself and his missions here and The strong toning down is recorded and discussed in Brian Steels’ Downgrading Divinity
and also at http://bdsteel.tripod.com/More/doss2claims.htm

I am at present working on a song, which recalls to my mind but a few of the corruptions that ALL our societies are falling to deal with, and which Sathya Sai Baba and his core servitors and other aiders and abettors, because he and they were so corrupt, were not on any moral high ground to address.


Haul Them In!   Barry Pittard. 7 June 2012

It’s all too little, and it’s all too late

– When the horse has bolted –

To bolt the gate

It’s all too late to cap a stormwater drain

When a soul’s fallen through

To be never seen again

There’s Pisser the Pervert out stalking our kids

If we don’t haul him in

If we don’t haul him in

If we cower, if we shrink, what will our kids think?

What must our kids think?

Of us – our kids think?

When it’s all too late to cap a stormwater drain

When a kid’s fallen through

To be never seen again

There’s Putrid the Pornster and Venom the Pedlar

They want us to cheapen till we’re creepin’ on our knees

Till they weaken when we need them but we’re creepin’ on our knees

These crooks look pretty pleased, and say how stupid we are

How stupid we are

How stupid we are

And it’s all too little, and it’s all too late

– When the horse has bolted –

To bolt the gate

When it’s all too late to cap a stormwater drain

When your soul’s fallen through

To be never seen again

And there’s Bloater the Bureaucrat with Lacky Lick Spittle

Who slick us with figures

Statistical figures

And knock off like skittles all those who blow the whistle

All those who blow the whistle

Heroes – who blow the whistle

When our eyes ignore the dirty domain

The heroes fall through

Till they’re silenced – again

As for pretty Doctor Spin and Spy Tsar The Husher

If we don’t rein them in

If we don’t rein them in

They’ll haul us all in like in old Soviet Russia

Old Soviet Russia

Old Soviet Russia

Will we all be too little? Will we all be too late?

– When the horse has bolted –

To bolt the gate

Will we all be too late to cap a ditchwater drain

Will the soul ditch down

To be never see again?

‘Cause it’s all too little, and it’s all too late

– When the horse has bolted –

To bolt the gate

It’s all too late to cap a stormwater drain

When your soul’s fallen through

To be never seen again

 Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

There is a Spanish version available:

PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA ”INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL

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Sathya Sai Baba: Symbol Of A Vastly Corrupt India Resistant To Reform

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 16, 2012

For over a decade, many of Robert Priddy‘s and my articles have insisted that the changes Sathya Sai Baba promised for India (much less – and more megalomaniacally still – the world) have, in extreme degree, failed to materialize.   See:  India will lead the world – Sathya Sai Baba and:  Official Sai Baba Documents Show His Death Date Prophecies Failed and:  Sai Baba’s failed predictions, doubtful birth date, doubtful age, doubtful death and:  Most predictions by and about Sai Baba failed

He was appalling off-target in regard to the future, but blundered quite as egregiously  in matters relating to the past.  See:  Sathya Sai Baba Made Huge Science and History Mistakes.  He himself is now of the past, so his prophecy, below, is now part of the huge junk pile of his glaring errors:

A huge array of India’s power elites – including many successive Indian Prime Ministers and Presidents – who so often visited him – profoundly failed to go within light years of following his teachings about truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence.  He himself failed to live up to them.

Social injustice, corruption, casteism, nepotism, military and police violence and other extreme malfunctions always were, and are, as rife in India.  See:  Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement” and:  Will India clean up its Augean police and political stables? and:  Police, Security and Sathya Sai Baba

Former devotees and others who have worked to expose the crimes, misdemeanors and spiritual betrayals of Sai Baba and many of his core leaders have faced enormous obstacles. One of these has been the failure of almost the entire Indian media. The  honorable exception was India Today.  In a professional way, it dealt with our witnesses (individuals of outstanding professional and other credentials) both from other countries and well as from India.  To often, there there was the often skillfully disguised hatred of westerners only too familiar to experts on India  –  a trait interpretable as stemming from India’s long experience with British imperialism and, before that, the crashing waves of Mughal invasion. In dealing with her power brokers, no one should fall for the infinite charm.

It is to the Indian media’s undying shame that foreign media in various countries had to take the lead in surfacing facts about the 1993 police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom, the serial and wide scale sexual abuse of boys and young men, etc.

Establishing the bona fides of former devotees from many countries around the world took coordinators a vast amount of time and hard work.  

However, with demonstrable intellectual dishonesty, individuals like the deputy chairman of the world Sathya Sai Organization, Dr G. Venkatarman, residing at Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi headquarters, tried to impute ill motives to many former devotees many of whom had outstanding records of service and devotion when members of the international Sathya Sai Organization, and attribute gross incompetence to the BBC, The London Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, among others.  

Venkataraman’s poverty of intellectual discourse can be seen in various other directions, too.  With telling use of documents, Robert Priddy, retired philosopher and social scientist of the university of Oslo, Norway,  exposed Venkataraman for serious science plagiarism of a sort which, were the deeds not perpetrated in an India rank with corruption of every sort, would probably have seen him in great trouble in the academic world elsewhere.  See:  Indian Scientist Dr G. Venkataraman Accused of Plagiarism and:   Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman.

It took many decades before Indian news reports adverse to Sathya Sai Baba and his cult could be seen.  There is the irony that non-resident Indians around the world saw the BBC (see:  Barry Pittard’s Guide To His Articles On The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Exposing Sai Baba), and many other media, expose Sathya Sai Baba and his worldwide cult – which the Indian media almost exclusively denied to their readers and viewers.  See:  Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List.  Sathya Sai Devotees Suspect Foul Play In Guru’s Health Crisis. Seek Court Order

Our private contact with leading Indian journalists, including with editors of major media, has long underlined the power of the Sathya Sai Organization to keep stories out of the press, no matter how great the scandal. It was many decades too late that the Indian media ran the sort of stories now impossible to suppress.  See:

Indian Media’s Reticence on Top Guru, Sathya Sai Baba, Weakens

‘Face the Nation’ Audience Poll, India – 87% Hostile to Gurus Like Sathya Sai Baba

This was not until the last stages Sathya Sai Baba’s illness, his death (about which leading devotees themselves questioned Sathya Central Trust’s highly irregular handling of matters), and the vast millions worth of currency, gold, silver and other valuable items which Sai Baba secreted in his private quarters.  

In a note to a senior Indian investigative journalist on a top Indian television channel, I wrote (in part):

 (How could) “a Trust – charged with due diligence! – first, dismiss all suggestions that a unaccounted treasure could lie hidden, and issue emphatic statements that all-is-above board – with only cheques from, and receipts issued to, donors – and, YET, later, only after repeated contradicting detection, come up with another explanation altogether?

If they were let loose on the Sai Baba and Sai Trust saga, Indian newspaper cartoonists would have a field day,  ….! You potentially have a great story. But will you and your Team dare to go for it, X? Where are all the editorials? The serious Ed.Op pieces? Where is there a persistent raising of vital questions – e.g., about the circumstances leading up to Sai Baba’s death/ the death certificate circumstances/ the ordering of his golden casket from a source in Bangalore well before his death / his body weight at the time of his hospital admission / the reported concern of Sai Baba’s team of highly senior doctors about lack of information on any medications being given to him before his emergency admission to their care / or about the lack of statements from doctors and nurses and, above all, Dr Safaya at the Sathya Sai hospital who resigned en masse / or about Satyajit (about whom there is so much silence, and yet so much noise – indeed bluster!  –  from V. Srinivasan and R.J. Ratnakar)?What of the on-again, off-again resignations of Ex-Chief Justice Bhagwati? And of the former world Sathya Sai Organization head, Indulal Shah? And so on ……..”.  

See:  Sathya Sai Baba Saga: Is There Too Little Indian Media Critical Analysis?

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Video of Some Primary Witnesses of Sathya Sai Sex Abuse, and Sai Cult Cover Up

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 26, 2011

Please feel free to put these videos on YouTube or other venues. This is a small part of wide primary witness testimony that accuses Sathya Sai Baba of serial sexual abuse of young men. 

CLICK ON IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD VIDEO CLIP 565Kb.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD BRIEF VIDEO 3.9 Mb.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD BRIEF VIDEO 2.9 MB.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD BRIEF VIDEO – 1.4 M

Those of my readers who are psychologists, police, lawyers, etc., do please kindly confer with your colleagues who specialize in body language, and voice prints. There are those of us, including myself, who are happy to submit to FBI-certified lie-detector or today’s other leading-edge tests for truthfulness. Jay Narain, so recently resoundingly successful in Indian court actions against one of Sai Baba’s top teacher-officials. Jay Narain’s family was shockingly treated by Sai Baba and his officials, after the family intervened to rescue boys in the family from sexual abuse in Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi education establishment. He tells me that he himself has already passed this type of rigorous lie detector test. I also learn via separate means that, in his business life, he has long been known as being fiercely honest, and even sent people out of his office who were not of integrity. Whatever different legal jurisdictions may make of lie-detector tests (I speak  of the most recent, cutting edge ones), there are responsible media organizations who use them as one method among other methods of allowing educated publics to make their own judgements of witnesses. Where are you Goldstein, Shah, Venkataraman, and all the rest of you? Are you afraid of what will be – only too readily – detected?

I here challenge Sathya Sai Baba’s servitors, who stand accused, to undergo the same tests. My opinion of them, carefully formed over many years, is that they are too cowardly, too guilty and too deeply implicated ever to do so …….

These are but a couple of forensic areas where those in the Sathya Sai Central Trust and International Sathya Sai Organization can, I assert, be soundly exposed, and our witnesses around the world be shown to be telling the truth. Large numbers of former followers and other critics of Sathya Sai Baba and his Cult have been branded liars and deceivers. These things we are not. We wish to put beyond doubt the mendacity of these vicious attacks, launched by people such as Dr G. Venkataraman, deputy world chairman of the international Sathya Sai Organization, and the extremely vicious Gerald Moreno, who has long been aided and abetted with those known to be closely associated with Sai Baba and his key henchmen. We trust that official after official, and other accomplices, are pursued in case after case – in properly constituted Courts of law, as well as exposed in television and newspaper venues, and so on.

Above, the former Swedish film star turned professional prison rehabilitation worker, Conny Larsson, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Sweden. And Jed Geyerhahn, USA, former devotee.  He is a graduate in Philosophy from Fordham University.

Ullrich Zimmerman, USA former devotee. See:

Dr Timothy Conway’s Summary of Ullrich Zimmermann Interview

bliptvimage

Alaya Rahm, supported by his mother and father in testified to the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’. Al Rahm was, until he spoke forth, one of the major, high-profile leaders in the international Sathya Sai Organization.

   
Robert Priddy notes:  The Rahm family (USA) were very ‘close & privileged’. Their son, Alaya, had most bravely and convincingly stood forth to tell of the awful situation in which he found himself when Sai Baba began abusing him sexually. This young man’s candour and honestly contrasts greatly with the cover-ups, secrecy and abuse from the Sai Organisation and its leaders and puts all who continue as Sai devotees to shame!
View proofs on video clips from the documentary of the Rahm family’s former closeness and central position in the Sathya Sai Organisation, and the large amount of so-called ‘divine grace’ they received:
1) Three robes from Sai (Filesize 654Kb) 2) Numerous ‘materializations (Filesize 1.12 Mb3) Alaya Rahm tells of Sai Baba threats and oral sex abuse of him when still a minor 1.05Mb)4) Testimony – Sai Baba tried anal sex etc. (Filesize 1.0 Mb)5) Al Rahm tells of his learning of the sex abuse of his son) Alaya’s mother tells of her reaction7) Indian student sex abuse victims cannot speak out (Filesize 340Kb) 8 ) The Rahm’s son’s fears if he told the truth about Sai sex abuse (Filesize 515 Kb)9) Alaya Rahm was told not to tell and threatened by Sai Baba (Filesize 840 Kb)The US State Department were contacted by the BBC (filesize 1.26 Mb) and confirmed their Travel Advisory warning as being directed specifically against Sathya Sai Baba.
There is also video testimony that many students were abused in the Danish film ‘Seduced’

     
Some of the bribes: ‘materialised’ items – fake gold watches, false gemstone/diamond rings and some of the £10,000.- paid to Alaya (who was trapped in the cult from childhood) for his silence under threat of terrible things if he should tell of the over 20 sex abuses.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

See:

‘The Secret Swami’ & U.S. State Department Warning against Sai Baba

View ‘The short video clip (1.5 Mbs) with Tanya Datta on the State Department Travel Warning confirmation

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Sathya Sai Baba Saga: Is There Too Little Indian Media Critical Analysis?

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 9, 2011

Let my reader imagine that the following is a note of mine to an Indian media person seeking me out to assist in the development of a news story. It may take no prizes for diplomacy, but it is not far, I think, from the mood of both our former devotee network members from both India and other countries.

First, Sai Baba and his key servitors on the Sai Central Trust and the international Sathya Sai Organization profoundly deceived and betrayd. From circa 2000, owing to both organized and informal activity of former devotees, a great deal of critical exposure of Sai Baba and his cult occurred. In some parts of the world, Sai Centers emptied, while, in general, many left, including many well-respected leaders.

Next, allied with Sai Baba and his cult’s officials, corrupt local, state and national governments in India consolidated the evils done by their complicity in the cover up of the outrages – wide-scale sexual abuse by Sai Baba and some around him of boys and young men, Police executions in his bedroom on June 6, 1993, unaccountable scams in regard to water projects, apartments in Prashanthi Nilayam, unadressed brutality by Sai Baba’s security detail, and much else. 

It has been one of spiritual history’s sorriest examples of perverted religion and spirituality. Even many who admit his wrongdoings, attempt to pass over the evil deeds by saying how much good he has done. Their highly-flawed logic is that if someone does good they should not be held accountable for the wrongdoings.

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Dear X (a high-profile media exective)

Thank you for our phone conversations and email exchanges, and speaking with one of our Indian members.

I appreciate your undertaking of security provisions for the safety of our personnel who live in India and security arrangements. As you and I know, many Indian media will e.g., unscrupulously record and quote without permission what, ostensibly, were the words of an interviewee. That your organization can deal with us with the same integrity that we received from Aroon Purie and his team at India today would engender our confidence in you. Our former devotee workers have put vast amounts of time and sacrifice, without payment of cash or kind so as to get their accounts out to the world.

Having lived some years in India, I know how keenly many Indian citizens, with whom I have dwelt and worked alongside, despise the disrepute that her corrupt institutions bring. It always struck me that these wonderfully kind and decent people do not in the least deserve the horribly corrupt elites that for so long have managed to cling on in the top roles.

There is agreement that, yes, hard evidence is important. But the BBC and many other investigative teams who took on the Sai Baba issue were no less aware of this than you are. Does not media have a proper role in eliciting peoples’ experiences whether or not individuals are able to back up their experiences with empirical evidence at every turning. 

The fact is that, except for India Today, which did a terrific job, Indian media might were deaf to our worldwide submissions on the Sai cult. Here was a wide cross-section of those who had resigned – in some cases exceptionally important figures in the Sathya Sai Organization. They were treated to the same high-handedness and deceit that the whole of India has now been able to see because of the revelations. 

The Indian media had a chance to expose the massive cover up regarding the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom. With almost no exception, it failed. Lawyers, police, politicians, and so on all know this. Failure is the correct word. If you are prepared to be proactive, we will certainly consider assisting you with witnesses, including those who have not previously spoken out, and who may not be so easy to ignore, as a small number who have fought without ceasing for 10 gruelling years.

 But why should many of our witnesses risk their personal and family safety and jobs and so forth if they are not to be listened to by senior journalists who have – with true professionalism – done their homework, just as was the case of journalists outside India.

You say that there have been, over the years, articles critical of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult in the Indian media. We shall have to compare notes – I challenge you to provide a list of any hard-hitting examples. Whatever examples you may be able to cite, they are more than contradicted by the many the rebuffs we got. Virtually day in and day out, I was close to the action, and stand witness to say that Sai Baba former devotees made many attempts to engage wide sections of the Indian media. In marked contrast, UNESCO, Interpol, the FBI, etc., and various non-Indian governments treated our workers’ reports, and sworn testimony from various countries, with the utmost seriousness.

I agree with your point about the pitfalls of hearsay evidence. Your point that Indian media did not have sworn testimony is an entire mistake. Where were you and your journalistic colleagues when we made it very clear that not only did we have a number but were in unique position – far better than journalists! – to bring still other sworn testimony, provided that there was a chance of any section of the Indian media doing a good job. Aroon Purie and his team DID not behave like the rest of you.

You overplay the hearsay issue. The matter is not an either/or situation. Both types of evidence, in their varying stages, are important. I think you err too far in the direction of wanting proof, or close to it. Proof often follows, rather than preceeds, proper investigation of allegations, clues, evidentiary contexts, study of credentials of witnesses, and so forth.The BBC not only followed up on our list but actually ventured out and got (I was assured by assistant producer of ‘The Secret Swami’, David Saville) and found still further apparently strong cases, such that the individuals and the various families DID NOT appear on our lists, he said. Why has not the Indian media, almost without exception, thus ventured out.

The last two months of daily Indian media reports are a great irony for us. At last, in India, there is wide discussion of the contradictions, cover ups, contradictions, lack of proper organizational.

I am glad that, in our phone conversation, you very strongly reacted to the disclosure right at that time of the Rs 35.5 lakhs from twelve devotees (yet another Srinivasan tale now exploded by the police). You, like I, disdained the manner in which prime matters are being overly focused on, and essentials being forgotten. It will be great to see media as a formidable force in educating a national and international public in how laws are, or may be being, broken, and the model qualities of due diligence, accountability and transparency which those laws expect of organizations, including those said to be ‘spiritual’.

As I look across the Indian media’s handling of the Sathya Sai and his Sai Trust scandals, I see failure – not particularly in the basic reporting but in the sheer lack of qualitative analysis. 

I note a lot of Indian media rely on government and police releases, important though these are in their own place. Yes, juicy for certain readers. BUT too often there lacks focus on essentials, and the acute need to keep the trajectory of main developments in the minds of readers/viewers as further news breaks.

I see news-management-by-Release, rather than by proactive, savvy news and analysis writers and editors who can help contextualize historic background, and intellectual and moral/spiritual issues.

Will your group provide regular overviews, so that the serious tendency for salient factors to be badly eclipsed can, in some measure be overcome. Happily, I have seen three leading Indian television broadcaster shooting hard-hitting questions in some depth and breadth. There was intellectual engagement.See: ‘Face the Nation’ Audience Poll, India – 87% Hostile to Gurus Like Sathya Sai Baba

But so often, one sees Sai Trust spokespersons getting away with the same ducking and weaving which we have exposed since circa 2000. Surveying a cross-section of Indian media performances, I scribbled the note: please guys, lay on some really trenchant questioning! Is there anything litigious about asking:  E.g.,:

a) How the treasure hoarding and dispositions could have occurred at all – what? Without a moment’s suspicion by ANY Trust personnel? Or knowledge of any of the male students (‘form boys’) whom, for sexual reasons, Sai Baba has long been known to allow to sleep in his room? He himself has acknowledged that certain boys are permitted to sleep in his room. This is recorded in official Sai literature, as WE have accurately documented, along with so much else. Are any of you in the Indian media asking  considerable Sai Baba experts like Brian Steel, Robert Priddy and Kevin Shepherd etc., to assist with ‘chapter and verse? You and other Indian media show few signs of having done so.

Were Satyajit and Sai Baba the only two who knew of Sai Baba’s vast hoard? Did it somehow materialize? What?  No bearers to transport it? No carriers sworn to dread secrecy on pain of some dire threat and/or some handsome reward? No plan for usage of the currency and valuables? No recipients? No presence of smuggling or money laundering? No gifts to Sai Baba from any major criminal or any Croesus-rich potentate (E.g., the Saudi King, one report has it, showering diamonds). No Swiss bank involvements?

b) How a Trust – charged with due diligence! – could, first, dismiss all suggestions that a unaccounted treasure could lie hidden, and issue emphatic statements that all-is-above board – with only cheques from, and receipts issued to, donors – and, YET, later, only after repeated contraindicating detections, come up with another explanation altogether. If they were let loose on the Sai Baba and Sai Trust saga, Indian newspaper cartoonists would have a field day,  ….! You potentially have a great story. But will you and your Team dare to go for it, X? Where are all the editorials? The serious Ed.Op pieces? Where is there a persistent raising of vital questions – e.g., about the circumstances leading up to Sai Baba’s death/ the death certificate circumstances/ the ordering of his golden casket from a source in Bangalore well before his death / his body weight at the time of his hospital admission / the reported concern of Sai Baba’s team of highly senior doctors about lack of information on any medications being given to him prior to his emergency admission to their care / or about the lack of statements from doctors and nurses and, above all, Dr Safaya at the Sathya Sai hospital who resigned en masse / or about Satyajit (about whom there is so much silence, and yet so much noise – indeed bluster! from V. Srinivasan and R.J. Ratnakar)?/ What of the on-again, off-again resignations of Ex-Chief Justice Bhagwati? And of the former world Sathya Sai Organization head, Indulal Shah? And so on ……..

I have looked almost in vain in the Indian media for sustained critical responses (except now and then in Readers Comments’ sections in some newspapers) to, among a host of issues, the absurd and contradictory of statements by Trust Officials. For example, the explanation of V.Srinivasan regarding the police van and bus seizures of treasure. Indians traveling India, and travelers visiting her, and foreign government’s with their Travel Advisories regarding India testify to the perils of travel. Yet, Srinivasan and other Sai Trust members constantly skip round matters of grave substance, and a passive media may be their best bet of getting away with it. Of this I have blogged, indeed harped, feeling it a great pity that foreigners like Robert Priddy and me should have to lead with so many of the probing questions and issues while the Indian media do  little but report and move on to the next revelation in the Sai Baba and Sai Trust saga, failing to gather up the strands and show continuities and interweaving relationship. I had the image of the Indian media, by and large, vacuuming up police and government reports and reverse blowing them out to a long-suffering Indian public. Why should Indian editors (and I am tired, frankly, of hearing it from them in our private conversations) speaking about their litigation concerns. What is litigious about pointed questioning? About going hard at contradictions and discrepancies in the stories of those such as Srinivasan, Ratnakar, Bhagwani, et al. In regard to the Sai Trust rapidly changing statements about the cash secretly moved out of Puttaparthi, I wrote (and wondered why the Indian media aren’t far more vigilant here):

“Where, too, has gone any semblance of the Sathya Sai Central Trust’s duty of care for the safety of life and limb of its  workers on a money transportation assignment fraught with danger? This, in an area with trained eyes not only of individual criminals, criminal gangs, and private armies of feudal landlords but of ubiquitous, highly organized, armed political struggle groups such as the Naxalites (with countless splinter groups), the so-called Peoples’ War Group or PWG, etc. Many police and security authorities complain of the emasculation by Andhra Pradesh state politicians of state security and police cadres capable of action, and the pipe dream of thinking that negotiation and accommodation are going to work. Why the earlier Trust assertions that donations are dealt with by cheque? Why such vast amounts of loose cash? Where is the accountability and transparency in all this?  Can we trust a Trust that doesn’t know about vast funds being transported in the dead of night, or carted in a passenger bus in gunny sacks of cash as if it were mere chaff or ragi? When proper practice by a Trust is upheld, who will dare to hump huge fortunes around the countryside like this? Such a Trust lacks due diligence, and is incompetent. What suppose wicked chaff or ragi robbers assail the van or bus and snatch the sacks?” See:

Sathya Sai Saga: Points Lost Among Big Sathya Sai Trust Reassurances of Transparency Posted by Barry Pittard on June 30, 2011

Well, X, I am very much concerned that there is – apart from the basic reporting – a  failure by India’s ramshackle Fifth Estate. Rather, one would like to see hard probing, and far better backgrounding.  If the media is so slack, how can India be bulwark of democracy? For decades, most of you guys grievously failed Sai Baba’s countless victims, who live in India and around the world. If you want sworn testimony, kindly do not make guesses as to whether they were offerred to the Indian media. You offend the facts here. If we decide that your network can do a good job, I rather think that we can provide news about the real treasure that Sai Baba tried to hide away, but did not value. The treasury of victims of his various types of abuse.

True, the key perpetrator is dead, and we can’t pursue him. However, those who were complicit and had knowledge of these various types of abuses, and who extensively covered them up, are still very much alive. They are still on the Sai Central Trust and in his Sathya Sai Organization. Sometimes, great moral outrage takes time to reach the tipping point. Let us see.

Barry Pittard (Former lecturer, Sathya Sai College, Whitefield, via Bangalore)

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Sathya Sai Trust’s V.Srinivasan: Defending A Religious Empire Fallen. A Torn House Divided

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 6, 2011

Unfortunately for Sathya Sai Trust spokesman V. Srinivasan and his (and Sathya Sai Baba’s) already badly tattered credibility, last Sunday, still more treasure was found in secret places in Sai Baba’s private quarters. This time, the joint District Collector and her team searched for and found it. But, in a case of caught-out-yet-again, this lot of treasure DID NOT appear in the Trust’s inventory, which the government of Andhra Pradesh had put the Trust on its Boy Scout’s honor to make.

Did the District Collector and her team obtain their spectacles or magnifying glasses from a manufacturer much superior to any the poor Trustees  can manage to find?

Srinivasan’s earlier story was that huge amounts of money which police found being secretly removed by van and bus did not belong to the Trust but to twelve devotee donors.The India Daily reported (Tuesday 21 June 2011):

“According to sources, during investigation, it was found that Pradhan, a retired Air Force official, brought Rs 35.5 lakh out of Yajurveda Mandir, Sai Baba’s personal chamber, and handed it over to Sathya Sai Central Trust members RJ Ratnakar and V Srinivasan at the Shanti Bhavan. The cash was in turn given to Chandrasekhar, driver of Srinivasan, and later, was passed on to Sohan Setty and Harish Nanda.

The trio was caught by the police on Saturday night while transporting the cash to Bangalore. Police are likely to serve notices on Ratnakar and Srinivasan in a day or two, the sources said”.

Srinivasan’s story falls down on at least three counts:

1.  The Sai Trust  markedly departed from its policy of donation by cheque with the administration’s issue of receipts.

2. Perhaps all the more strange in a (so-called) spiritual organization which should have a tender care for the safety of its workers  is the considerable security risk to which Srinivasan and any other accomplices (like the Puttaparthi head of Security) were ready to expose Srinivasan’s driver,  Chandrasekhar, and the Shetty brothers.

3. Commonsense and caution, following nation-wide attention on the enormity of the first, and truly vast, treasure cache, should have set in. The risks Srinivasan took can hardly be stated. Who would be so imprudent? What lawyer would ever countenance such folly? Yet Trust spokesmen are often enamoured of stating what depth of experience and talent subsist in its Trustees.

For one passing moment, a statement of Srinivasan sounded faintly like a Puttaparthi spokesman in the ‘good old days’. He told the Indian media:

“I do not see any need for the government to set up a separate mechanism”. 

But clearly succumbing to a changed reality, where Puttaparthi is no longer shielded from public accountability, he added that he saw no problem if the government should wish to set up a mechanism of accountability. IF …..!  Surely, not ‘if’ – but when. A high level business group CEO, Srinivasan cannot be so simple-minded as believe in such and IF. He gives every evidence of temporizing and trying to play to the naive masses.

But Puttaparthi times have change. Markedly unlike Srinivasan, the then world head of the Sathya Sai Organization in and Trustee, Indulal Shah, was able, in a medieval feudal chieftan-like response, though terrible police executions and other killings had just taken place, to make short work of The Hindu, June 10, 1993: 

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.’”

Background Note:

The then Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and his Home Minister S.B. Chavan and other powerful forces in Indian politics aided Puttaparthi’s extensive cover up of the police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom. We know (via the testimony of V.K.N. Narasimhan, editor of Sanathana Sarathi) that Chavan was in Puttaparthi assisting in the damage control. A former Andhra Pradesh Home Office Secretary, V.P.B. Nair told the BBC of the massive cover up that  prevented police, media and judicial investigation. The Anantapur Journalist’s Union protested the suppression.

Unable to take the haughty approach, Srinivasan keeps making difficulties for himself. For example, it was only days ago, that he maintained, absolutely, the Trust very strictly controls donations. That they must be by cheque. And that receipts must be issued. Next thing, apparently temporizing again, when his own agents were caught spiriting away huge sums of money under great secrecy, he said:

“… most transactions are by cheque but why can’t one be by cash? That money belonged to the trust. We had no other intention than to pay samadhi contractors.’’

He also dismissed any notion that cash, gold and gemstones and other valuables are still concealed in the Yajur Mandir.  Was the Sai Trust’s own inventory just the tip of the iceberg? the media asked. Srinivasan laughed, replying:

“I do not know why such fanciful statements are being made. We took an inventory and took everything into the accounts of the trust. The inventory was taken in the presence of trustees who are respectable bureaucrats, chartered accountants, legal practitioners and businessmen.’’

It is instructive to look at Srinivasan’s statements over recent days.  Two days prior to police questioning him for five hours about the money secretly transported from Puttaparthi by van and by bus (even AFTER all cash and valuable were said by the Trust to have been accounted for), Srinivasan told the Indian Express: 

“The money belongs to the Trust”. 

He said that there could be no more gold, silver and other valuables in the Yajur Mandir. All along Srinivasan has given out accounts as though they are indisputable facts, only to be falsified by the facts. Like his ‘spiritual master’, in fact, as analytical studies of Sai Baba’s discourses  and other documentation clearly show.

In passing, it is interesting that there is no record of Srinivasan saying a thing about any of the many other places in or around Puttaparthi where treasure may, or may not, be hidden – for example, secreted behind walls or in ceilings or in cement tunnels. Such genuine care, accountability, transparency and due diligence are not to be seen in him or this fellow.

Following yesterday’s searches for about a day just yesterday (Sunday), headlines in the Indian media read, for example:

Assets worth Rs77L seized at Sai ashram

See: Yet Another Sai Yajur Mandir Treasure Haul. Stash Not In Recent Enforced Sai Central Trust Inventory.Posted by Barry Pittard on July 3, 2011

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THE HINDU

Front Page, Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011

‘Rs.35 lakh cash does not belong to Trust’

Staff Reporter

Sathya Sai Central Trust clarifies the money belonged to 12 different people

PHOTO: R.V.S. PRASAD

Trustee V. Srinivasan (right) of the Sathya Sai Central Trust speaking to the media at Puttaparthi on Tuesday. Member of the council of management Naganand is also seen.

PUTTAPARTHI: The Sathya Sai Central Trust categorically stated here on Tuesday that the cash of Rs.35 lakh seized at the Kodikonda checkpost by police recently did not belong to the Trust but to 12 different people.

Trustees R. J. Ratnakar and V. Srinivasan, who were in the thick of controversy following seizure of the cash, had only facilitated the money being placed before the regal chair of Sathya Sai Baba in Yajur Mandir.

Mr. Srinivasan explained at a crowded press conference in Prashanthi Nilayam that the Trust did not wish to get involved with the finances of the construction of the Mahasamadhi as it was a public charitable trust and that the law did not permit them to undertake religious activity.

He said the Trust had decided not to directly undertake the construction but facilitate the devotees to do so under its supervision to ensure quality and aesthetics. The Trust took this decision as it was flooded with offers from devotees to pay for the Samadhi work. Shankarnarayana Consultancy Company of Bangalore was appointed as project consultant.

Mr. Naganand — member of the council of management of the Sathya Sai Central Trust — said there were no restrictions on people giving donations in cash to a consultancy to be used for the construction of the Mahasamadhi. He added that the said company was no stranger to Puttaparthi and had in fact even donated work worth crores of rupees, even when not asked for, out of devotion to the late Sathya Sai Baba.

Asked if the Trust would be compliant if the government decided to take on a monitoring role over the Trust, Mr. Srinivasan said, “I do not see any need for the government to set up a separate mechanism”, and that if and when such a decision was taken, the Trust would not have a problem.

He said even without a demand note from the Income-Tax Department, they had paid Rs.9.75 crore as tax on the income attached to the inventory of valuables found in the Yajur Mandir.

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THE EXPRESS

Sai trustee stands by Samadhi story

 Express News Service
Last Updated : 24 Jun 2011 08:23:57 AM IST

HYDERABAD: Breaking his silence for the first time since the seizure of R35 lakh of Sai Baba’s money, Sathya Sai Central Trust member V Srinivasan vehemently denied allegations of wrongdoing and said the amount was meant for a legitimate purpose: building the guru’s samadhi.

In an interview with Express, Srinivasan said, “There is no substance in the allegations being aired. We are not involved in any illegitimate activity. The money came from the devotees. The media is distorting the facts.’’ He laughed off allegations that wealth from the Sai Baba’s estate was being siphoned off. “The truth will come out once I make a statement to the police,’’ he said. Srinivasan is due to give his statement in a couple of days.Pointed out that his driver Chandrasekhar has told the police that it was Srinivasan who had sent him to get the cash from Yajurweda Mandir, the trust member asked, “When the money was meant for a legitimate purpose, where is the problem? Does sending my driver to deliver the money mean that it was being used for illegitimate purposes?’’ Asked if it wasn’t true that all transactions of the trust are normally done by cheques, Srinivasan said, ‘’Yes, most transactions are by cheque but why can’t one be by cash? That money belonged to the trust. We had no other intention than to pay samadhi contractors.’’ Asked if it was true that cash, gold and diamonds are still concealed in the Yajurweda Mandir and that the inventory revealed by the trust was just the tip of the iceberg, Srinivasan laughed and said, “I do not know why such fanciful statements are being made. We took an inventory and took everything into the accounts of the trust.The inventory was taken in the presence of trustees who are respectable bureaucrats, chartered accountants, legal practitioners and businessmen.’’ Asked whether the trustees were preventing government officials from entering the Yajurweda Mandir, Srinivasan said, “What is preventing government officials from entering the mandir now? We have never prevented them and never will.We never said they cannot enter.’’

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Andhra Pradesh Intelligence Watch On Sathya Sai Central Trust. AP Gvt Closing In

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 24, 2011

Well wisher from India emails us:  

“It looks like the Andra Pradesh govt is putting the squeeze on the Sathya Sai trust. It appears that the Govt has a definite strategy in mind over a period, and hence the politicians and govt officials have been cold shouldering the SB trust officials (besides giving a silent go ahead for slapping criminal cases against them). The government has already withdrawn 16 exemptions to the SB trust, regarding auditing, some taxes, publishing accounts, being supervised by a govt official etc, among others. Even assets like land as well  as intellectual properties can no longer be sold by the trust without govt permission.

At a high level meeting , Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy (who is not a devotee), brushed aside his cabinet’s apprehensions that SB devotees may be offended by any Govt takeover of the trust. It is strongly indicated that the Govt is moving towards this decision, and the young AP Chief minister (a former state cricketer/wicket keeper) has even put the trust under intelligence watch.

It seems that an “Aurobindo model” as in the Pondicherry Aurobindo ashram is being contemplated, and also possibly the Whitefield ashram may be made an income creating commercial venture or sold off.

If this happens, it could possibly mean the end of the “Sai Baba mission”, and it would exist as just another charity, maybe with a few pictures of Sai Baba here and there”.

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India Today

Andhra Pradesh government plans to take over Sathya Sai Baba trust

A. Srinivasa Rao  | Hyderabad, June 24, 2011 | Updated 10:26 IST

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to take over the controversial Sathya Sai Central Trust following the recent seizure of a huge amount of cash from some people close to the trust members.

Chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy held a high-level meeting with officials of the endowments department, chief secretary S. V. Prasad and intelligence department officials on Wednesday evening to discuss reports of alleged irregularities in the Sathya Sai Trust, which manages the multi-crore empire of late godman Sathya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district.

“In the last four decades, the government has not interfered in the affairs of the trust. But now, we are compelled to intervene in the wake of serious allegations of embezzlement of funds in Prashanti Nilayam. We have sought a report from the trust on its financial dealings and the assets it is holding. Depending on the response from the trust members, we will decide on how to proceed further,” endowments minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah said on Thursday.

Sources said the government is also weighing options of taking over the trust, but that would be as a last resort.

Otherwise, it might even consider canceling the exemption granted to the trust under Section 154 of the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997, which would enable the government to have direct supervision over the trust affairs.

“The government has no immediate plans to take over the trust. We will wait until the trust members submit their report,” the minister said.

The government has given strict instructions to the police to probe the trust’s financial irregularities and act tough with erring members. The police had already served notices on trust members R. J. Rantakar and V. Srinivasan, asking them to appear before the superintendent of police before Saturday for interrogation.

The government has also transferred Puttaparthi deputy superintendent of police Narasimhulu, who was allegedly cooperating with the trust members in siphoning off wealth from Yajur Mandir, the personal chamber of Sai Baba. Instructions have also been issued to the local revenue authorities to submit a comprehensive report on whether land transactions had been carried out by the trust members or their associates in the recent past.

The Anantapur police have also alerted the income tax authorities to conduct investigations into the unaccounted cash.

Ratnakar has, meanwhile, sought more time to appear before the police regarding the seizure of Rs 35.5 lakh cash which was being transported out of Prashanti Nilayam. On Thursday, he made an appeal to Anantapur superintendent of police Shah Nawaz Qasim to give him more time. He said he was seeking legal opinion in the case and would provide all the information to the police.

“We are ready to provide all the details to the government. Some vested interests are trying to defame the trust and create mistrust among the devotees,” Ratnakar alleged.

Interestingly, Ratnakar had initially said the trust has nothing to do with the money and claimed it belonged to 12 devotees and that they would appear before the police to give their side of the story. So far, not a single devotee has come forward to stake claim to the money.

There are allegations that Ratnakar was bringing pressure on some students of the Sathya Sai University to stake claim to the money so as to save the trust members, but they have reportedly refused to do so.

Trust member Srinivasan, who was also served notice by the police, has been absconding since. There were reports that the police had grilled him a couple of days back on the cash seized, but the police denied it.

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India Today

Finally, Andhra govt to rein in Sai Trust

B Krishna Prasad, TNN | Jun 24, 2011, 07.35am IST
HYDERABAD: Facing flak for not monitoring the affairs of the Sathya Sai Central Trust, the state government has decided to withdraw some of the 16 concessions that the trust has been accorded to carry out its various philanthropic, educational and charitable activities.In a far reaching decision on Thursday, after detailed discussions with the chief secretary, finance and revenue department officials, chief minister Kiran Kumar gave the green signal to withdraw these concessions. “The exercise is meant to bring about more transparency while not restricting the various activities of the trust including the running of hospitals, university and other missions,” said a senior official dealing with the matter.The 16 concessions, ranging from financial to administrative, were granted to the Sathya Sai Central Trust, the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sathya Sai University, Super Speciality hospitals, medical trust, Radio-Sai, International Sathya Sai Organisation, Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Sai Sadhana Samithi and music divisions.The financial concessions, which include no levy of VAT, building fee, commercial tax, registration fee, customs and other duty for importing medical equipment for the hospitals and subsidised electricity, will continue for the time being. “Our focus is to enable transparency in the working of the trust and its various bodies. Therefore, the various exemptions granted to the trust under the Hindu Temples and Trusts Act, 1987, will be withdrawn,” said the sources.As per section 154 of the said Act, every trust should file its income and expenditure report with the respective state government at least once in three years. Similarly, exemption given under section 59 of the Act allowed the trust to evade information about the assets and property of different trusts. Exemptions given under sections 58, 60, 61 and 65 of the Act allowed the trust not to entertain yearly audit by the government, supervision by deputy collector rank officer, submission of annual profit and loss account.

Likewise, exemptions given under sections 79 and 80 gave the trust power to sell its land, property, intellectual property, publications, music and film productions without giving any information to the government or pass through the supervisory system provided by the government. All these exemptions will now be withdrawn, the sources said.

“On the request of the trust, the Congress government headed by chief minister J Vengala Rao had granted the Sai Trust these exemptions under the Hindu Temples and Trusts Act in the mid-70s. Since then, the Sai Trust has not been answerable to the state at all. The only report that the trust is submitting annually is the foreign donation figure to the Union home ministry, which is a pittance of the total money and assets it generates every year,” said the sources. The state is also contemplating to bring the trust under the provisions of the Right to Information Act. Having decided to withdraw some of the exemptions, the state government is waiting for the report from the Sathya Sai
Central Trust before conveying its intentions.

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Today: Fri, Jun 24, 2011

AP govt may tap Sai trust’s assets after takeover

 P Pavan. Posted On Friday, June 24, 2011 at 03:05:18 AM

In Hyderabad In the backdrop of controversies surrounding the Sathya Sai Baba Central Trust, founded by spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba, the Andhra Pradesh government is studying Pondicherry’s Aurobindo Ashram model to control the Sai trust.Under the Aurobindo Ashram model, a government nominee (an IAS officer) is appointed to oversee the trusts’s affairs. Talks about the AP government taking over the Sai trust have been doing rounds for the past many months.Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy took stock of issues relating to the Sai trust on Wednesday night. He called for a report from the trust on its activities, financial position and other details.

The Sathya Sai trust has been mired in controversies after Baba’s death in April

He also called for an intelligence report on the controversies surrounding it. He may consult the cabinet once the trust and intelligence department submit their reports.

With Baba’s death, the flow of donations to the trust is likely to dry up. Therefore, the government feels it should commercially exploit some of the fixed assets of the trust so that the trust activities aren’t hampered in future.

The Sai trust, whose assets are valued at over Rs 40,000 crore, runs several educational and medical institutions, drinking water projects apart from a railway station and an airport.

“For example, the Whitefields in Bangaluru can be converted into a commercial venture so that the income from it can take care of the recurring expenditure on some activities”, said a government source.

Confirming that the state government is considering replicating Aurobindo model in Sathya Sai Trust, a senior minister said, “We are under obligation to respect the sentiments of devotees, continue Trust activities and control any irregularities.”

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Could Sathya Sai Treasury Scandals Lead to India’s Watergate?

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 23, 2011

I have listened to many country’s national anthems. But, I must say, for purely musical reasons, the Indian national anthem has long been my favourite. The melody unfailingly tugs at my heartstrings. Even so, when I listen to it these days, there is an extra freight-load of poignancy to it. I think back to the Indian homes, from rich to poor – sometimes, VERY poor –  where I lived for lengths of time with Indian families – forever the honorary ‘uncle’.

Joys and sorrows well up when I hear the Indian national anthem, although I know some families equally dear to me wish that the words used are  in, or not in, the Hindi language.

Janaganamana-score.pngSheet music for Jana Gana Mana.  Words and Music by the great Nobel Prize-winning Indian poet-dramatist, musician-dancer Rabindranath Tagor, whose then still-living relatives, as well as the younger generations of the Tagore family made me feel at home when, in early 1976,  I spent time, and performed, at the Shantiniketan University, Bolpur, West Bengal.

At the same time, whatever may seem to be the contraindicators, there can be few, if any, countries in which, in general, those of different persuasions can get along together. Too often, it is the hotheads whom we come to hear about. We don’t always hear, for example, of how some Hindus and Muslims risked their lives to save Sikhs who were set upon in pogroms, after two Sikh bodyguards assassinated Mrs Indira Gandhi on 31 October 1984 . Following the assassination, there were four days in which marauding maniacs killed thousands of Sikhs in a retaliatory blood let. The bloody-mindedness of some of the top leaders (like longtime Sathya Sai Baba devotee) PM Narasimha Rao, and Rajiv Gandhi with his utterly callous  “when a big tree falls” pronouncement, and many newspaper editors are appalling. From time to time, India gets some good people on Commissions of enquiry. But she needs good leaders, so that there is not the dire need for Commissions.

A number of times, in widely different parts of India, courageous, quick-thinking Indians have saved my life or limb. Once, I was spared the blade of an RSS thug, when RSS workers mistakenly thought that I was a Christian missionary. Another time, Indians in a huge crowd making for a ‘sacred’ spot lifted me aloft and bore me to safety. In another far part of India, the police had to assure my safety, because a westerner been arrested on charges of spying.

As a poor traveler, I have been nursed back to life by Indian families who had been strangers, and so tenderly as if I had been of their own family. The list of beneficent occasions is much longer, and knows no Hindu, Moslem, Sikh, Parsee, Jain, Christian etc., distinctions. The poor of India, among whose hovels I have worked, have, touchingly, been no less generous-spirited to me than the rich, even – or perhaps especially! – when these ragged and destitute people saw that I was traveling poor myself.

Therefore, as my regular readers may have noted, I speak not too kindly of the Indian elites. They are venal. They are selfish and cruel. They heavily support a system of brutal suppression and torture by sections of the armed services and police. Without their endemic corruption, India would stand tall in all the world.  See my articles:

Police and Army Rapists Rarely Punished, Says Kavita Krishnan (Of AIPWA)

Wikileaks and Indian Troops Atrocities Reports. Sai Baba Fails To ‘Clean Up Own Backyard’

These rulers, time and again, betray my Indian brothers and sisters. I will say it, although I hesitated, because I do not want anyone to presume upon the common and all-too-decent Indian type. Indians at large are very gentle, tender and infinitely patient. Those of their fellows who are not, or who are selectively so, presume upon the others. But Indians can be tigers, especially in parts of the north, and one enclave in the south, where martial traditions remain strong. In general, though, to my mind, I spot a fierceness more often on the cricket field  than off it.

Sachin Tendulkar looks heavenward. But Sachin, I don't think your Sathya Sai got admitted to Swarga Loka. But why not look down here in the real world, and with compassion, where you will find his many sexual abuse victims, boys and young men (many grown much older now), round the world? Do you not have a brave heart when off the cricket field?

Frighteningly, what Manmohan Singh so gravely risks is that, because he has shown his teeth to peaceful anti-corruption protesters – or to be more accurate – got his security forces and police to do the tooth-showing and bovvyer boy musclework, his piddling weakness in the face of immense corruption could plunge the Indian nation into the most terrible bloodshed. By which I mean – he should fix cankerous corruption in his own house, and not ‘fix’ honest and decent protesters.

However, I am encouraged by a number of tidal changes that I now see.

Quite apart from his deep prostrating, longtime association with Sathya Sai Baba, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh now looks to be a spent force. His government is mired in many scandals. Given the evidence so long in front of international former devotee coordinators like Robert Priddy and myself, one can really raise a question:  Will the revelations now exploding in the Indian media about Sai Baba and key players on his Sai Central Trust broaden out to include some of the figures in local, state and central government spheres?

India's PM Manmohan Singh. At the Feet of the Late Sathya Sai Baba

Might Manmohan Singh and others be about to face their Watergate? 

It will be a test of what the producer of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami”, Eamon Hardy, threw into question, to use his words, of “India’s maturity as a democracy”.

Manmohan Singh and other members of his government, and a succession of past Prime Ministers and Presidents, and countless other high-ranking individuals in Indian politics, the armed services, police, government, and so on, have protected Sathya Sai Baba. Will, now, the wealth, the family connections, the underhand political wheeler-dealing and other antidemocratic tendencies in India thwart attempts at genuine reform? Will the big Sai Baba-prostrating money-bags like the Tatas, the Rais (the scion of the latter family threatened to sue us and got told firmly where to go!) at last, after too many decades, find that there is something in India that money won’t buy?

Or will the legions of corrupt misleaders continue to overpower democracy? Here is our chance to see.

Anti-Corruption Rallies In Upsurge Across India

Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi by Sathya Sai Baba's golden casket

Large numbers of Indian citizens are rising up. Are they rent-a-crowds fomented by his immediate political rivals to power? Or by the Pakistan government’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)? It would not surprise if any or all of these should want to have a hand. But good Indian citizens inform me that many of these marches against government corruption are deeply genuine, no matter under whose banner the crowds protest.

Some masses rally to the call of solid, old-fashioned anti-corruption crusaders such as Anna Hazare. Others to Swami Ram Dev, whom a range of serious commentators depict as somewhat a religious fundamentalist, politically naive, and a bit of a hot-head, but well-meaning and brave nonetheless. Certainly, both have daily put their lives on the line. Both have also embarked on fasts-unto-death, in the way the better-informed still remember of Mahatma Gandhi.

Are the Indian People Sick of Their Leaders’ Golden Casket Worship?

Anna Hazare. Widely respected, old-style Indian anti-corruption crusader

The Wikipedia entry on Anna Hazare states:

Kisan Baburao Hazare (Marathi: किसन बाबुराव हजारे) (born 15 June 1937), popularly known as Anna Hazare (Marathi: अण्णा हजारे), is an Indian social activist and anarcho-pacifist who is especially recognised for his contribution to the development of Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, India and his efforts for establishing it as a model village, for which he was awarded the Padma Bhushan—the third-highest civilian award—by the government of India in 1992.[1]

After leading a number of nonviolent protests in Maharashtra state against corruption, Hazare started a fast unto death on 5 April 2011 to exert pressure on the government of India to enact a strong anti-corruption act as envisaged in the Jan Lokpal Bill, a law to establish a Lokpal (ombudsman) with the power to deal with corruption in public offices. The fast led to nationwide protests in support of Hazare. The fast ended on 9 April 2011, the day after all of Hazare’s demands were agreed by the government of India. The government issued a gazette notification on the formation of a joint committee (of government and civil society representatives) to draft an effective Lokpal Bill.[2][3]

Another prominent Indian social justice crusader who has risked his life many times is Swami Agnivesh.


Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Friday, May 27, 2011

Mahant held for slapping Agnivesh

Manas Dasgupta

AHMEDABAD: In an unsavoury incident, the human rights activist, Swami Agnivesh, who was accompanying the anti-corruption bill crusader, Anna Hazare, to a visit to Gujarat on Thursday, was slapped by a Mahant.

The incident occurred before the start of a public meeting to be addressed by Mr. Hazare. While meeting people, Swami Agnivesh tried to greet Mahant Nityanand Das, the chief of a temple near Nadiad, while the latter he slapped him.

The Mahant, who was arrested by the police, told journalists before leaving the venue that his anger against Swami Agnivesh was for his comments about the holy Amarnath shrine of Lord Shiva.

Swami Agnivesh, on the sidelines of a recent peace conference in Srinagar, had allegedly commented that the ice lingam of Amarnath was “artificially made,” and that the annual “Amarnath yatra” was a “religious deception.”

The Mahant had earlier announced a “reward” of Rs. 51,000 for anyone who would dare to hurl a shoe at Swami Agnivesh in public. He said he had nothing against Mr. Hazare and totally supported his crusade against corruption, “but I cannot take the Swami’s comments against a holy shrine of the Hindus.”

Human right activists strongly condemned the incident. “We condemn the attack on Swami Agnivesh.” Said Father Cedric Prakash, a human right activist and convener of Prashant, a voluntary organisation.

Swami Ramdev, anti-corruption crusader, dragged off by PM Mohan Singh's militia

India’s billionaire “heroes” get humbled

By Alistair Scrutton | Reuters – Sun, 27 Feb, 2011 12:31 AM EST
NEW DELHI (Reuters)

But a Who’s Who of corporate India has now been mired in controversy in the past year. Even the icon of India Inc, Ratan Tata, went to court to stop the release of leaked taped conversations of lobbyist Nira Radia and top industrialists, politicians and journalists, with talk of swinging deals, granting favours and ministers taking bribes. The tapes published in local media showed Radia, whose lobby company represents Tata and Mukesh Ambani, speaking to politicians to ensure Andimuthu Raja was appointed telecoms minister. Raja is now under arrest over the graft case. The founder of Satyam Computer was arrested in an accounting fraud — software services had previously been seen as one of India’s cleanest sectors — and the head of India’s $4 billion cricket premier league was fired over alleged irregularities. “The image of the socially responsible businessman, the untainted hero, has taken a beating,” said V. Ravichandar, head of Feedback Consulting in Bangalore, which advises multinationals.

Even the slightest selection of recent Indian newspaper headlines tend to tell the story quite well.

India: Protests against corruption spread

Reuters

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi have come in for criticism for sending hundreds of police using batons and tear gas on Sunday to break up a hunger strike by Swami Ramdev and tens of thousands of his followers in Delhi.

“India is a democratic country. Peacefully protesting and assembling without arms is legal,” said Arvind Kejriwal, an associate of Mr Hazare.

Teachers stage protest against corruption

TNN Jun 18, 2011, 10.51pm IST

DHARWAD: Inspired by the tirade launched by social activist Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev against corruption, teachers in Dharwad staged a protest against corruption and exploitation in the education sector.

Responding to the call given by Karnataka State Secondary Teachers’ Association (KSSTA), large number of teachers from Dharwad, Belgaum, Haveri, Gadag, Bijapur and Bagalkot districts participated in the sit-in protest in front of the office of the additional commissioner for public instruction here from 3pm to 5pm.

MLC Arun Shahpur, KSSTA vice-president R M Kuberappa, general secretary M G Sindagi and others spoke on the occasion. They said that corruption in education sector is spoiling the atmosphere as those who are compelled to pay bribe tend to recover the money by resorting to illegal means. “It also encourages people to get illegal things done by offering inducement. This trend will make life difficult for law-abiding citizens. Immunizing education sector is the need of the hour,” the speakers said.

Students protests against corruption in India – Dimapur

DemoTix. 25th of April 2011Student activist from Dimapur Naga Students Union (DNSU) burns candle during a candle light protest called by North East Student Organization (NESO) to show solidarity to the anti- Armed Force Special Power Act (AFSPA) campaign by Iron Sharmila and anti corruption Lokpal Bill by Anna Hazare. The seven Indian north eastern state has, today called a protest to show its solidarity to Iron Sharmila, who has been on fast for more than tens years to remove AFSPA in the region and to Indian social activist, Anna Hazare corruption campaign against the prime minister and cabinet

Churches in India endorse protests against corruption

By: Anto Akkara
Ecumenical News International


“The poor are the worst victims of corruption,” says India’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao. Photo: Shutterstock

Bangalore, India
Churches in India have joined the growing support for social activist Anna Hazare, who launched a hunger fast on April 5 to call attention to the problem of corruption in government and is urging the passage of a strict anti-corruption law.

Corruption has become a major national issue in recent months, with allegations of massive corruption running into billions of dollars in wireless telecom licensing and in the preparation for Commonwealth Games that was held in New Delhi last October.

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Sai Baba Treasure Scandals: His Big Political Protectors Now Run For Cover

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 22, 2011

The Sathya Sai Baba fold continues to fold. The sheep are running all over the place. And so are the rats, although they are as invisible as they can make themselves. They have had a good deal of experience in mucky cover up.

For some weeks, it has been evident to any careful observer, that the Andhra Pradesh government has been only too aware of troubles in the Sathya Sai camp that might grow too big to suppress. Indeed, it is a campfire that none can stamp out, and looks like becoming a raging forest fire. The critters are on-the-run. And, to mix a metaphor still further, the rats desert the ship.

Most notably, a series of suspicious circumstances led up to Sathya Sai Baba’s death.These are being investigated, including by the Andhra Pradesh Human rights Commission. See: Human Rights Commission Probe Fronts Andhra Government On Sathya Sai Baba Treatment

Hopefully, all the attention given to the treasury scandals will not allow the circumstances of his death to drop from sight, as happened with the suppression of police evidence concerning the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom in June 1993.

What is more, prominent followers of Sathya Sai Baba are themselves deeply disturbed at the intense infighting within the Sai Central Trust, despite its repeated – and dishonest – denials. These devotees, too, are asking leading and uncomfortable questions, and consulting legal opinion. Just as those of us, who are now former followers of Sathya Sai Baba, did as, long ago, we began to investigate ever further layers on layers of corruption. And of a spiritual betrayal of the utmost magnitude.

In short, Sai devotees are now finding out what former devotees have, for over a decade, been at very great pains to document and to point out.

My reader may imagine the current feelings of those all round the world who left the Sathya Sai Baba fold. Such feelings as expressed in phrases like:  – at long last!

There is relief that at least a few of Sai Baba’s dark deeds, and those of his core servitors, are being revealed on a large-scale – and from within India itself!

Given the fact of decades of massive Puttaparthi and local, state and national government cover up of Sai venality, the sight of seeing, proverbially speaking, rats deserting the ship is satisfying in its own way. Particularly given that the very Sai Central Trust personnel, and politicians (irrespective of which government), and police chiefs and other officials are  well-known to us. For these scurrying excuses on two legs are among those who have thwarted our attempts to bring out the facts. They are too well-known to our international coalition of former Sathya Sai devotees and other critics, not to mention investigators like India Today, BBC, Times of London, Telegraph, Guardian, etc.

In passing, I note the great courage of the late Basava Premanand. See:  Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach. Posted by Barry Pittard on October 6, 2009

India's Basava Premanand. Faced Sai Baba Cult

If there were just a few more like Premanand, and a tiny handful of others in India who have fought valiantly to expose the criminality of Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his core servitors, India might fare better when it comes to international esteem.

Did India and her ‘heroes’ respond to the cries of Sathya Sai Baba’s myriad victims of sexual molestation of boys and young men, or the families of those liquidated by police in Sai Baba’s bedroom, or of those beaten by his key security people, or the people scammed over apartments and in other ways by personnel in the Puttaparthi front office, or of the many who have been thrown out of the international Sathya Sai Organization, including those who, with the greatest of integrity, called for proper organization process, such as duty of care and financial and other forms of accountability …..?

Or did India and her ‘heroes’ side with chief mechanics of cover up, such as Indulal Shah, and Dr G.Venkataraman?  See:

Indulal Shah and Indian Government Cover Up

‘God’s’ Ex-Shah, Indulal Shah

Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard On Dr G. Venkataraman – Sathya Sai Baba Global Propagandist

The answer is an anguished testimony to India’s lack of real heroes. They did not uphold what my late dear colleague in exposure of Sai corruption, Glen Meloy, with such glowing love in his voice, used to refer to as ‘standing up for truth and goodness’. See my hopelessly inadequate Obituary for Glen:

Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam. Posted by Barry Pittard on November 18, 2009

India’s rat-pack of false heroes are now running for cover. Hardly anyone in that country heeded our voices. No matter that these dissentient voices included many who had been esteemed, both in and beyond India, for decades. Some of those who spoke up – despite almost unimaginable lack of truth and goodness from Sai Baba and his people – had been for decades outstanding leaders in the international Sathya Sai Organization. And always have been esteemed in their wider communities.

Kamini Jaiswal, Supreme Court senior advocate

Could we turn for justice to the Indian Justice system? No, we emphatically failed. Even though one of India’s gutsiest and most senior advocates to the Supreme Court, Kamini Jaiswal, went in to bat. See references to Hari Sampath’s 2000 Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a case legal opinion in a number of countries have deemed to have been defeated by three judges holding a ‘kangaroo court’ :

Sathya Sai Trust In Vast Treasure Scandals: Secret Temple, Van, and Bus Stashes

Could we turn for justice even to the former pinnacle of the Indian Justice system, P.N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of Indian, who is now implicated in the treasury scandals, and is himself up for police investigation? We could not turn to this legal ‘hero’, either.

Former Chief Justice, India. Sai Baba Chief

See:

Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement”

On Sathya Sai Baba: Times of India, Ex-Chief Justice Interview. What Judge Would So Opine?

Indian Ex-Chief Justice: “Wild, Reckless Claims” about Sathya Sai Baba

In sad fact, we turned to many Indian leaders from many backgrounds, political, governmental, religious, and so on. They forsook us. They forsook their hero selves. I make the occasional exception. Bless him! – Aroon Purie, the founder and Managing editor of India Today group. So, in ‘India Today’ (4 December 2000), we got a hearing. India Today has stood up to the filthy mandarins – with their palm-greased agents, and their tremulous cack-mouthed toadies. Purie is of a different cut to India’s pisspot full of lily-livered newspapaper proprietors. I am informed that Vijay Thapa, one of the investigative journalists for the India Today cover story on Sathya Sai Baba, required close body protection during the weeks of investigation, which injects more meaning into the private words to me of the editor of one of the top Indian newspapers that Sathya Sai Baba and his people are to powerful to take on. I’m glad Thapa has risen to editorial heights elswhere today. He is a Nepalese Gurkha, and the Gurkhas, a martial people, are famous for not running.

Vijay ThapaAroon Purie, India Today Magazine. Published Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba

My information, too, is that Aroon Purie personally knew a familiy whose son attended a Sathya Sai education institution whom Sathya Sai Baba sexually molested. On discovery, the family took out the boy immediately. It is the same unhappy circumstances that former devotee international coordinators have become, over the years, used to learning about. Sickeningly, at first – until one’s professional instincts kick in. Although, it is understandable that this personal experience of Aroon Purie may have figured in his decision to assign a major cover story, the other disgraceful Indian editors are NOT excused. Our witnesses made sworn testimony, and in the documentation was supported family members with outstanding records of service and leadership in the Sathya Sai Organization.

NOTE: Wikipedia states:

Aroon Purie is an Indian businessman who is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of India Today and the Chief Executive of the India Today Group. He is also the Managing Director of Thomson Press (India) Limited and the Chairman and Managing Director of TV Today. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Reader’s Digest India [1] ……..Purie launched India Today, the magazine in 1975 as a strategic move to keep the printing press busy. The magazine was born in the time of emergency. Its never before seen brand of journalism without fear or favour transformed the landscape of Indian journalism. With editions in five languages, it is the most widely–read publication in India–a position it has held for over a decade–with a readership of over 11 million.[3]

He sets the journalistic style for the largest and most respected magazine publishing group in India and for the premier 24-hour news and current affairs Hindi news channel, Aaj Tak and English news channel Headlines Today.

One after another, the editors and newspaper proprietors of India found excuse. It mattered a fig to them how excellently documented were our submissions. Indeed, our material also went to Interpol, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Australian Federal Police, The French National Police, The German National Police and Federal and State Indian Police – all of this at the highest level. Of our successful case with UNESCO – despite its near scuppering by Sai Baba’s deputy chairman of the international Sathya Sai Organization, Dr Venkataraman, in cahoots with then Prime Minister Vajpayee’s Foreign Minister, see:

BBC Exposed Sai Baba Top Aide’s And Indian Foreign Minister’s Ploy With UNESCO

The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory

BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

UNESCO and Indian Government – Were Up To Tricks

History will show that the Indian Media utterly failed to expose Sathya Sai Baba, only to endure the professional shame – in having thus derelicted – of seeing leading foreign media investigate. For example, BBC, CBC (Canada), DR (Denmark), Salon.com (USA), SBS (all television), ABC (Radio Australia). In paper media – Times of London, Daily Telegraph, Guardian (UK), Marie Claire Magazine, Salon.com, BT, Bild, Focus, Trouw, Speegelbield, Noordhollands Dagblad, Sokaren, Gatopardo, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun, Age, Australian Financial Review, West Australian (a major front page article by an award-winning journalist (Torrance Mendez) was pulled at the 11th hour!), Adelaide Advertiser, etc., …..

Repeatedly, in regard to failure of nerve to stand up to Sathya Sai Baba and his henchmen, those whom millions of Indians worship as national heroes have had feet of clay. India had best get something more than their cricket team together ….. The reputation of Dharma had best not rest on the shoulders of cricket idols such as Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulka. It may not be capable of rescue by movie derring-do of Amitabh Bachchan and his ilk. Its even less likely saviors are a succession of Indian Prime Ministers who thought it best to cooperate in the suppression of senior police investigations into Sathya Sai Baba’s misdeeds – the latest being Atul Vajpayee and the present PM Manmohan Singh.

(I shall be happy to pass to bona fide media or other investigators contact details of one of the world’s top policemen (now retired and working in Consultancy), who puts Sathya Sai Baba as the master fraudster of the twentieth century. My email address is:  barpittard@gmail.com ).

Erapalli Prasanna. Great Indian 'tail' spinner. No doubt of Sai Baba's interest in a tail ...

In December 1997, I sat at a meal with Indian Test cricketers, such as her great former ‘tail’ Erapalli Prasanna. One would think, just chaps, actually – but then I saw their bus as it made a snail’s pace progress out of Puttaparthi, and men, women and children screamed their heads off and worshipped the cricketers. 

Sachin Tendulkar. But are the Sai roses smelling so sweet these days?

The throng’s worship was head-over-heels. The fervor was the same as that which they accorded Sai Baba himself.

Among the bus passengers were Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar (both of them committed Sai devotees), and other such national cricketing heroes. It would have been the same if there had been a Bollywood busload of Indian film stars.

What, then, do Gavaskar and Tendulkar and all the other Indian ‘heroes’ think about all the evidence now daily emerging about Sathya Sai Baba? And what do they think of his untrustworthy Sai Central Trust?  Let them answer. But how can they? – for all the ‘heroes’ are running for cover.

Well, at least India is getting a lot of runs …….!

….. Sheep running. Rats running. Crooks running with their ill-begotten gains …..

Sunil Gavaskar. But is Sai 'cricket' a gentleman's game?

And,  what of former Sathya Sai Baba devotees who have left him? And what of those  who have – despite Sai Baba’s and his associates’ attacks and libels – spoken out?

Be it said into history’s court of true testimony, it is not Sai Baba’s dissenters  who are the sheep and the rats.

———————————————–

Breaking News:  Sai Baba’s Ashram Chief Security Officer Arrested

One of our well-wishers from India has just written to us:

“After another round of interrogation, the Andhra Pradesh police have arrested Pradhan, the Chief security officer of Sai Baba’s ashram. With this, the number of arrests  is now 4, all connected with the first cash haul.

Two others ( in the Rs 5-10 crores  haul in a bus), are being held in an undisclosed location by the AP police and I am informed interrogation is continuing, and possibly more arrests may follow. Legal notices have been issued to V Srinivasan , chairman of WS Industries (senior Trust member) and to RJ Ratnakar, under the Criminal procedure code. So far PN Bhagwati has evaded any legal notice and / or being named officially, although the cash was transported in his protocol car (is he seeking immunity under any clause, being a former Chief Justice of India or have his stronger Govt contacts saved him so far ?)

My sources from high levels of AP police inform me that despite very strong pressure on them to dilute the case, senior politicians are not really pressing their efforts as this Sai Baba case has got national media attention, and no one wants to get his or her name in the news as being remotely associated with any Sai Baba related coverup , especially in the era of scams being exposed in India every week.

An ashram source has informed me that 2 senior Trust members spent the day calling top politicians in Hyderabad and Delhi, but were frustrated that no government official or politician came on the phone line. A senior political leader from Hyderabad has informed an attorney from Hyderabad ” Now, we don’t want to get involved, all opposition parties are stepping up the heat and all Sai Baba related matters are now only bad news, and politically it may become adverse for us”.

Is this why the AP police are proceeding boldly ? I am also informed that the lower level employees like agents, drivers etc are seriously worried about any threat to them should they turn state witness and the police have assured them protection for giving all information.”

———————————————–

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Baba Ram Dev’s Challenge to Indian Government and Corporate Corruption

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 8, 2011

The Swami Ramdev challenge to high level government and corporate corruption in India is but one indicator of the type of institutional violence with which Manmohan Singh is ready to react (see Reuters report below) when confronted not by a handful of determined foreigners from various countries but by a popular swami from within India itself. Baba Ram Dev, like Mahatma Gandhi and other Indian leaders, resorts to the fast-unto-death means of getting his message across.

An interesting comment appears at Live Mint.com and The Wall Street Journal:

“The root of the problem is the present government. Its complete disregard for serious problems of governance has opened the door for the rash politics of the Ramdev kind. Had it paid more attention to these issues, these groups could have been easily ignored. The UPA’s managers know that this can’t be done because of the depleted political stock of their government. The spectacle of ministers first grovelling before a godman at the airport and then ordering a pre-dawn police crackdown is only a symptom of the larger crisis of governability”.

Indian court weighs in on guru protest

Paul De Bendern, Reuters

First posted: Monday, June 6, 2011 6:22:45 EDT AM

NEW DELHI – India’s Supreme Court called on the government on Monday to justify why it sent police to end a peaceful anti-graft protest by a popular yoga guru and thousands of his followers, spelling more trouble for embattled prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Around 600 police broke up a mass hunger strike led by Swami Ramdev in New Delhi with batons and tear gas early on Sunday, detaining the guru, who is a TV star, and putting him on a plane to his home state. Dozens of followers and police were injured.

Tapping into spiralling voter anger about corruption as Asia’s third largest economy booms, Ramdev has called on the government to pursue billions of dollars in illegal funds abroad, and introduce tough anti-corruption legislation.

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Further Reading

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Indian Army Abuse – A Young Indian’s View

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 25, 2011

I received this note from a young person living in India. Interestingly, in this person’s report, the Indian army comes off  badly and not the police. In the years that I lived in India, many Indians had great respect for the army but widely despised the police for their cruelty and corruption.

Whatever the case, Sathya Sai Baba is heavily surrounded by both police and army personnel all the way to the very highest echelons. These days, he is very fragile, his thoughts and actions unfocused, but he still rides around on his huge gold chariot, mounts his golden throne, and celebrates his birthdays with an enormously extravagant and wasteful pomp that attracts the scorn of most and the blinded fervour of his devotees.

But Sathya Sai Baba’s long-ago made predictions have spectacularly failed. He said that in the last quadrant of his life he would rule India and that the world would come to him in fealty. But he has not transformed India. One sees from its daily newspapers that it is not a land  of democracy – except for a thin veneer of it – but, rather of tragedy. And indeed India’s media fails to reveal a great deal because it is so heavily muzzled. It is, for example, foreign media like the BBC, The Times of London, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and newspapers in Europe, Canada and Australia that have been able to get the powerfully indicting Sathya Sai Baba facts out to the world.

WikiLeaks cables: India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir
‘Beatings and electric shocks inflicted on hundreds of civilians detained in Kashmir, US diplomats in Delhi told by ICR. Unrest in Kashmir, where a leaked cable said the Indian government ‘condoned torture’’. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

Even in those areas in which India, powerfully vying with China for superpower status, is making remarkable economic and  technological advances, it is light years away from the moral and spiritual dimensions that India’s often gerontocratic, nepotistic and astrology-mired leaders characteristically cite in their speeches.

The raw fact is that India is no less materialistic than the socio-economically developed countries which have, in their own way, in a mixture of rampant greed and untold ignorance, brought the planet to a point where its sustainability is in the gravest doubt.

The young Indian, recollecting the spirit of India’s national anthem, says:

“Army people keep saying “Mera Bharat Mahan” but they really don’t mean it. They torture the civilians like dogs. They treat every civilian as a terrorist. I hate the indian army. I don’t know to which ‘Bharath’ are they giving service. They are of no use to us. Some are really fighting for our country, I do respect those who serve our country, but not the others.  They are fit for nothing. Many Indian Army sections trouble the general people in every way. In our area there is a small defence area but they don’t allow us to pass through that area though we give them the valid residential proof, driving license and vehicle registration papers. They say only army people can pass through that area. What is the use if they cannot give service to the general public? Their behaviour is so rude with us. Even Indian police cannot do nothing about them. Recently one of our teachers met with an accident by a vehicle driven by an army person but we could not take any action on him only because he was an army person, and even the civil police was unable to take action. How long will our Country be like this? It has turned to hell. Many people elsewhere are not aware about the small incidents that happen with the people living nearby to the army area. We are troubled a lot”

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Further Reading

Indian Army and Police Torture: Wikileaks Revelations

Police and Army Rapists Rarely Punished, Says Kavita Krishnan (Of AIPWA)

Will India clean up its Augean police and political stables?

V.P.B. Nair Told BBC Sai Baba Bedroom Killings Were “Coldblooded Murder”

Prominent Indians Berate India’s Rife Political Corruption

Flag Follows Trade. Abetting Indian Government Corruption

Tony Blair Was to Visit Sai Baba. Plan Thwarted

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General

Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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