Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Cricket’

India’s Billionaire Cricket Star Tendulkar Scores Poorly In Sai Baba’s Game

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 4, 2011

It is rare that Sai Baba makes news outside India. Sunday’s Daily Telgraph (UK) has just published a useful run-down on the recent revelations of vast clandestine treasures being found in Sathya Sai Baba’s private chambers. (See Sathya Sai Saga: Points Lost Among Big Sathya Sai Trust Reassurances of Transparency). In some main points in yesterday’s article, Gethin Chamberlain (see an earlier reference in ‘Marie Claire’ Magazine: April 2011. Sathya Sai Baba Still Further Exposed) states:
“… the guru’s closest aides have turned on each other, there are claims of death threats being made, and the police have been called in.

……….

The Trust decided to open the rooms, but with caution: the police were kept at a distance and the media were locked out. A select group assembled, including the controversial figure of Satyajit, Sai Baba’s carer, apparently the only person who could penetrate the chambers’ elaborate security. They took the lift to the first floor, opened the door and stepped inside.

What they found made even the wildest rumours seem tame: stacked around the room were piles of gold, diamonds and cash. Cashiers with counting machines were summoned and reported that the haul included £1.6 million in rupees, 98 kg of gold and 307 kg of silver. (No figure was provided for the diamonds.)

The Trust denied any previous knowledge of the hoard, said it had immediately paid tax on its value, and denied any impropriety.

……….

Suspicion began to grow that vast sums had already been smuggled out. Three days later, police stopped a car carrying Trust members near the border with a neighbouring state – and found the equivalent of £50,000 in cash inside. The Trust first denied any connection with the money, then claimed it had been donated by devotees to pay for a memorial.”

Decades of Failure to Investigate Sathya Sai Baba and His Untrustworthy Trust

Except at the time of Sathya Sai Baba’s death on 24 April 2011, the non-Indian media has practically ignored him. Often enough, the Indian media itself, has not made much of him, being more interested in scandals than in spirituality. Although, from circa two thousand, we did our best, as an international former devotee group (which included India), almost all the Indian media – except most notably India Today – and Indian governments and politicians profoundly ignored us. And also the immensely persistent Indian rationalist, Basava Premanand, who even initiated a court case, which like the Sampath case was hijacked by a Sai devotee judge in a manner deplored privately to me by distinguished legal experts. This failure history can only record severely against the established forces in India. The excercise of such powerful censorship is why we now see, now that various tipping points are being reached, with the Sathya Sai Trust facing nationwide scandal. Some of the corruption to which critics have laboured so hard and so long to get properly investigated  is, increasingly, being exposed. We did not know of Sai Baba’s incredible hoarding of treasure in his private quarters. However, as long ago as 2ooo, one of our number, Hari Sampath, former member of Sai Baba’s Security and Intelligence Wing, included mention in his Public Information Litigation (PIL) suit to the Supreme Court of India, of  money laundering via certain Sai Trust members who had charge over such activities, while other members were kept in the dark. See my recent blogs:

Sathya Sai Saga: Points Lost Among Big Sathya Sai Trust Reassurances of Transparency

Sai Baba protected by the Supreme Court of India

In short, unlike UNESCO, the US State Department and many leading, best reputed media in the West (and, privately a number of governments), the Indian media with the honorable exception of India Today grossly and repeatedly ignored our detailed and compelling documentation and the sworn statements of excellent citizens from a number of countries.

The gold is real. Just like the huge amount of undeclared gold (among other treasures) recently discovered in his multi million secret cache in his private quarters in the temple-palace in which he lived.

Sathya Sai Baba has, of course, been but one of a great many so-called ‘holy’ men and women who crowd the Indian religious scene, and who are exalted and worshipped in a way that can only seem strange to most people most everywhere else.

The Use of Devotee Celebrities in Sai Baba’s ‘Game’ – Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar. Sits by the dead Sai Baba's golden casket. More gold ...

Sometimes, the fact of his many Indian celebrity followers has enhanced his newsworthiness. Although the appeal in these last weeks has been the gross and repeated revelations. A most recent in-the-news celebrity is Sachin Tendulkar, the billionaire cricketing star who has just performed more miracles for India in cricket. Or was his guru playing through him? Tendulkar’s achievements have exalted him to god-like status in a nation mad for cricket.  Tendulkar is mad for Sai Baba.  I hasten, though, to add that so too are many poorly performing cricketers – lest Tendulkar, like the former Chief Justice of India and longtime Sai Trustee P.N. Bhagwati be so addled to think that Sathya Sai Baba is dictating his decision:  See:

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

As mentioned in the report below, Tendular has just announced the gift of a costly bust (as ‘guru dakshina’) to be made of Sai Baba – of all the uses in poverty-ridden India that could have been made with the money! Hopefully, the Indian people will one day repudiate such practices, which are not only powerful symbols of opulence, as opposed to simplicity and compassion, but hold India up to ridicule worldwide.

Indian media have often either reported on Sai Baba’s visits round India or ignored him. Some sections, where media barons, or their families, have been devotees, there has, of course, been coverage.

The exceptions in regard to western media non-coverage have been very few. Except for a fairly small number of reports of his death, and the occasional Obits, the exceptions have been when our coordinated former devotee group has worked hard to bring world attention to grave crimes and spiritual betrayals over many years alleged against him and, in some cases, his close servitors. Also highlighted have been serious political and governmental involvement in Sai Baba cover ups, local, state and national, and the gross dereliction of duty of care and of transparency and accountability of both the Sathya Sai Central Trust and the international Sathya Sai Central Trust. Independent journalists, scholars and others who have tried to study the Sai Baba apparatus repeatedly report the highly authoritarian nature of the movement and its officials.

Contrary to years of intense Puttaparthi propaganda – easily seen in the published speeches of Sai Baba and his handpicked keynote speakers – much of the rest of the world does not know of him, and some parts know a little.
But Sai Baba’s nefarious squandering of gold – apart from the massive hoarding of it (and so much other glittering treasure) is not new.

Gold Cup at 1997 Sai Baba Cricket Match. World Attention Elsewhere

On 30 December 1997, covering the match for ‘Spirtual Impressions’ a Sai devotee magazine, I got some good close-up views, holding press card for the so-called ‘International’ cricket match. It was not international at all. What is more, Sunil Gavaskar (previous glamour superstar of Indian cricket) has, since, maintained the myth on Sai Baba’s propaganda world radio station.
This so-called ‘Cricket Unity Cup’ was supposed to be an event which brought Sai Baba to the attention of the world. One thing would lead to another. Huge amounts of work and money went into getting a splendid cricket pitch in the Hillview stadium arena. Television and print media were invited. E.A.S. Prasanna, India’s former great spin bowler, that Australia’s  (my country’s immortal) Sir Donald Bradman had been invited, but could not attend because of his great age and ill-health. Some of the cricketers present (playing and non-playing) present were: Sachin Tendulkar (Captain), Arjuna Ranatunga Sri Lanka’s Captain), Sunil Gaveskar (like Tendulkar a long-term devotee), G. R. Vishwanath, Viv Richards of West Indies and almost unknown Doug Brown (the only UK player). The match failed to engage players from West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, New Zealand, Australia, and any one of the scores of countries in which cricket is taken seriously.  India’s national broadcaster Doordarshan televised the match. In the commentator’s box was ‘Kiri’, Syed Kirmani, often hailed as India’s best ever wicket keeper, who became a Chairman of Selectors for India. He was no doubt well ‘selected’ for the day’s job at the Sri Sathya Sai Unity Cup, since he quite often dropped all objective commentary of the match being played, instead indulging in rhapsodic eulogies on Sai Baba. I saw the Doordarshan producer repeatedly directing attention of the camera crew to features of the grandiose architecture like Sai Baba’s university, the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. Segments of the game were telecast round the world, including Great Britain. India – or rather, one should say, Sai Baba’s propaganda machine – won the day. It was yet another ‘golden’ affair, since the cup was made of gold.  One account reads:

Sai Baba: “It will be brought by four boys in a trolley. It is very heavy. It cannot be lifted. It weighs 20 kgs. Pure gold.”
A college teacher exclaimed; “1 Crore, Swami!” (i.e Rs.10 millions)
SB: “Yes, yes.”
Teacher: “Individual cup,
Swami?”
SB: “Yes, yes. Each player one Cup. 1 Kg. of silver. Round cup, one side ball, one side bat. We
can keep fruits on it. It can be used in daily life. Outside they give plate on which they write. After some days it becomes copper. This is pure silver, pure gold.”
Teacher: “Swami, it is written in Suka Naadi that Avatar will hoist the Sarvadharma flag; and that will be the turning point for the unity of the world.”
SB answered: “Time has come; time has come. Yes, in Suka Naadi it is there, in Sukha Naadi it is there.”

Yet another of Sai Baba’s many falsified prophecies. See:

“No fear of bombs” in India, Said Sai Baba a Week Before Mumbai Terrorist Attack

Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon?

Sai Baba 83. Has Said He Will Rule World

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions

Fortunately for India’s cricketing fortunes, Tendulkar’s logic on the cricket field serves him far better than his logic off-field.

————————————

Indian guru’s hoarded riches raise doubts over charitable works

Thousands of followers around the world believed the Indian guru Sai Baba was a god, but since his death it has emerged that the fortunes people donated to him were not all invested in good works.

Sai Baba 

By Gethin Chamberlain, in Panaji

8:30AM BST 03 Jul 2011

The Indian guru Sai Baba’s life seemed to have it all: sex, money and religion.

A lifetime of claiming to be the incarnation of God had brought him a £5.5 billion fortune and a worldwide following of 50 million people. It also brought accusations that he molested his young acolytes and used cheap trickery to perform his miracles.

Yet all this is now in danger of being eclipsed by the extraordinary saga which has been playing out since his death in April, a story of hidden treasure troves, of mountains of gold and diamonds, of missing millions, all set against a backdrop of a struggle for control of his empire.

In his prime, the diminutive holy man with the bright orange robes and huge afro haircut could count kings and presidents among his friends, and the likes of Sarah Ferguson among the admirers of his home-spun, “love all, serve all” philosophy.

The film actress Goldie Hawn has visited his religious centre or ashram at least three times and donated tens of thousands of dollars to his projects; the Duchess of York paid a call after her marriage broke up; while the cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who gave £40,000 for a statue of the guru, and a myriad of Indian politicians and Bollywood stars claimed inspiration from his message of putting service above self.

Sai Baba’s sprawling, non-denominational ashram in the town of Puttaparthi in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh was a beacon for Indians and westerners seeking spiritual enlightenment, no matter what their original religion – which the guru said they could maintain.

Now, though, it is riven by scandal: the guru’s closest aides have turned on each other, there are claims of death threats being made, and the police have been called in.

The edifice began to crumble when members of the Sathya Sai Central Trust, which runs the ashram, a religious centre, decided that speculation about what might be inside the guru’s private chambers was getting out of hand. The rooms had lain apparently untouched since the 84-year-old spiritual leader was taken ill in March.

The Trust decided to open the rooms, but with caution: the police were kept at a distance and the media were locked out. A select group assembled, including the controversial figure of Satyajit, Sai Baba’s carer, apparently the only person who could penetrate the chambers’ elaborate security. They took the lift to the first floor, opened the door and stepped inside.

What they found made even the wildest rumours seem tame: stacked around the room were piles of gold, diamonds and cash. Cashiers with counting machines were summoned and reported that the haul included £1.6 million in rupees, 98 kg of gold and 307 kg of silver. (No figure was provided for the diamonds.)

The Trust denied any previous knowledge of the hoard, said it had immediately paid tax on its value, and denied any impropriety.

If the Trust hoped that would satisfy the millions of devoted followers who had sent money from around the world in the belief it would be used to spread Sai Baba’s teaching or help educate the poor and treat the sick, it was mistaken. The love and compassion of which he preached gave way to rumours of more treasure hidden away around the sprawling building, of false ceilings and further underground hoards. Meanwhile Sai Baba’s niece, Chetana Raju, claimed she had received death threats for complaining about the search.

One source within the ashram said: “The police have definite intelligence of the existence of secret vaults, and concealed storage in false ceilings and behind false walls in Sai Baba’s personal living quarters. They strongly believe that the wealth hidden there could be much more than what was actually found, perhaps on a staggering scale.”

Suspicion began to grow that vast sums had already been smuggled out. Three days later, police stopped a car carrying Trust members near the border with a neighbouring state – and found the equivalent of £50,000 in cash inside. The Trust first denied any connection with the money, then claimed it had been donated by devotees to pay for a memorial.

The revelations have tested the faith of even the staunchest devotees, said a former member of Sai Baba’s security and intelligence wing. “News is constantly trickling in from Puttaparthi that Sai Baba devotees have been shaken by the huge haul of wealth as well as big cash seizures in the following days,” he said. “Many Sai Baba devotees I know, real hard-core devotees that is, are not even attempting to defend or deny the gold, cash hauls, and are in a complete state of confusion.

“Some blame trust members, while a few are asking, ‘Why did Swami have to keep so much gold and cash? Didn’t Swami always say he never accepted gifts?’ Who to believe or what to believe?”

Even Sai Baba’s most vociferous critics are taken aback by speed with which the empire is unravelling. “Even a couple of months ago, what has now happened was still unimaginable,” said Robert Priddy, the Sai Baba organisation’s former Norwegian leader.

Mr Priddy was once a believer but lost his faith as the allegations of sexual abuse which dogged Sai Baba’s final decades began to mount – though not before himself donating a total of £13,500.

“Devotees around India have at last begun to raise many questions and demand answers about the riches of Sai Baba and other gurus,” he said. “There have been protest demonstrations. It is a remarkable turnaround.”

The implications have not been lost on the people of Puttaparthi, whose livelihoods depend on a constant stream of pilgrims. It was a tiny village when Sai Baba was born there; as he grew in stature it became a thriving town, but business has slumped since his death.

The big draw of Sai Baba was the darshan – a glimpse of the God made incarnate – that came twice a day as the little man with the big hair walked among the faithful, sharing a few words with the lucky ones, before taking his place on the long stage beneath which he is now buried.

As many as 10,000 people could pack into the gaudy main hall, with its golden lions, pink, blue and white colour scheme and glittering chandeliers dangling overhead, to listen to his message of love and compassion.

In later years a stroke obliged Sai Baba to make his way through the vast hall in a specially converted car before taking his place on the stage in his removable white leather car seat, trimmed with gold painted plastic. Still the faithful came.

But India is not short of gurus and the fear in Puttaparthi is that those seeking enlightenment will now turn their attentions to other, more vital, sages.

Even if the followers to drift away, there is still a £5.5 billion empire up for grabs, including 1,200 centres in more than 100 countries and a string of hospitals and schools around the world – and there is no shortage of contenders to take control.

The front-runners include 39-year-old R.J. Ratnakar, the guru’s nephew, who owns a petrol station and a cable television network, and Satyajit, 33, Sai Baba’s closest companion for the last nine years.

But they face a spirited challenge from Isaac Tigrett, the Hard Rock cafe founder, one of the guru’s earliest and staunchest supporters – so much so that he borrowed Sai Baba’s “love all, serve all” slogan for his restaurant chain to help publicise the guru’s message. Mr Tigrett, who donated £4 million to build a hospital at the ashram and has spent much of the last few years at the compound, claims to be the guru’s “living will”. Sai Baba had, he said, confided in him along his plans for the future of the organisation – and he would reveal all later this year.

That cut no ice with the board members of the Trust, however, who dismissed his claims.

For former devotees like Robert Priddy, all this is simply proof that they were right to walk away when they did. “I feel satisfied that his death 10 years before his own prediction and under such inauspicious circumstances further vindicated my views on the falsity of his claims of omnipotence and divinity,” he said.

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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.

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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.”

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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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Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 4, 2009

Brett Lee is a prominent example of strong ties between India and Australia. It is good that someone with his credibility has stepped forward to bring calm to the situation following recent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

Australia is in for a test of another kind than cricket. Our country will be tested for whether democracy and muticulturalism truly flourish, as well as respect for the well-being and physical safety of all citizens of, and guests to, our country. Along with implementing changes to policing, law, education and greater public awareness of the issues, the Federal Government and State Governments in Australia face tests in how truthful and responsive they are when there is review of their performance in approaching urban crime.

Many have left the Sathya Sai Organization because of its pronounced lack of democracy, transparency and accountability. There has been monumental failure to address issues raised (often not publicly, and in many countries and Sai centers, by those quite other than prominent critics) such as sexual abuse of boys and young men from India and other countries by Sathya Sai Baba and certain leading members who work in his service, profound cover up of the circumstances surrounding the killings in his bedroom, massive misappropriation of donations for around the world utilized for lavish displays, property scams, and other scandals. Successive Indian Central, State and Local governments and large sections of the media have been involved in these cover ups. See below for some readings (which contain video footage from the BBC’s hour-long documentary which has been seen by millions worldwide, The Secret Swami)

Aside from sad incidents such as “sledging” (badmouthing on the sporting field), India and Australia share a great love of cricket, and many players on both sides have done their countries proud in the spirit in which they conduct themselves both on and off the field. Many friendships have been forged. It also means that forces from the community, apart from political figures are standing forth. Unless leaders with credibility in both countries make their voices heard, discussions about the relative roles played by racism and sheer, opportunistic street thuggery looking for “soft targets” will not have a proper chance to be heard.

I observed in my previous blog:

‘Racism thrives on ignorance, and on unreal social structures where persons and groups cannot get to interact with and appreciate persons and groups who are different. The locus of Australia’s achievements in multi-culturalism were not the politicians, but were staged in the Australian suburbs. They belong to the people, both older Australians and migrants, and they must not let political elites obsure or attempt top down solutions’.

Quite apart from policing aspects, areas such as student welfare infrastructure in learning institutes where students from India and many other countries study need urgently to be looked at. There are reports that some arrangements fall far short. Not to have excellence in an area such as this amounts to false pretences, given the importance those institutions place on overseas student study. The fees are large and the duties of care enormous. There must not be a single shortfall.

Because of the events in Melbourne, reports now surface that there have been widespread attacks in Sydney. Australia’s re-think will need to be far-reaching, and embrace all aspects of student wholistic welfare, and extend to foreign students from all countries – many of whose parents must at the moment be beside themselves with anxiety.

In the last days, Brett Lee was involved in arrangements to have a street cricket match with Indian students. This had to be called off because of still further violence perpetrated against an Indian student. Indian students who were in favour of the match were, however, uset by the renewed outbreak and naturally in no shape, emotionally, to play.

Unless all the facts are made plain, it will be very difficult to reconcile continuing reports of lack of foreign student safety and general wellbeing  with the statement, widely reported in the Indian media, issued via the Australian High Commission in India:  “We know through surveys of the many thousands of enrolled and graduating students that the overwhelming experience of international students is positive. This should be the outcome for every student”.

A Helpline for Indian students who are victims of crime is available: 1800342800. From 10am to 5pm, and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday.  Hellplines for ALL foreign students need to be provided and made extensively-known through the student fraternity.

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Excerpt from The Age, Melbourne – For full article, click on story title

Cricket star Brett Lee voices concerns over Indian student attacks

Vance Mikin-Laurie. June 3, 2009 – 3:56PM

Cricket star Brett Lee voices concerns over Indian student attacks Vance Mikin-Laurie

Cricketer Brett Lee has voiced his concerns over the attacks on Indian students in Melbourne. As the Australian team prepares for the Ashes tour of England, Lee – an ambassador for Deakin University – has moved to calm growing anger in India over the violence

…. (Brett Lee said) “The university is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of students. Deakin will be providing advice on how to keep out of harm’s way, and also counselling for anyone who feels unsure at this time” …

…. Both Lee and Deakin University have long-standing ties with India – Deakin was the first foreign university to open an office in India and Lee is is involved in charitable work through the Deakin India Research Institute.

…. The cricketer’s popularity has continued to grow in India recently through the Indian Premier League and he appears heavily in Indian media through his numerous endorsement deals .

…. A popular figure on the subcontinent, he even reached number two on the Indian singles chart in 2006 with the self-penned You’re the One For Me, a duet he performed with Bollywood star Asha Bhosle. ……………………………………………….

See my other articles of the violence against students in Australia:

Attacks By Hooligans Against Foreign Students In Australia

by Barry Pittard on June 5, 2009

Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2009

Former articles with a cricket theme at: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

International Cricket And The Secret Swami

Sai Baba Vs Kerry Packer

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BBC Exposes Cover Ups By Sathya Sai Baba and his international Sathya Sai Organization

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC Telivision

BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

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