Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Government Corruption’

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 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.


Further Reading

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba


Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

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

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Police, Security and Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 13, 2010

An array of media, scholars, government services, civic institutions, and many others read our writings. I have extracted the following links related to police and security from a Links page with brief commentaries on articles. That page has been assiduously compiled by Robert Priddy, and contains links to many articles he and I, and any other extensive writer such as Brian Steel, have written on an array of topics concerning Sathya Sai Baba and his cult. 

Note: Please kindly report any errors,  updates, or suggest improvements. These overviews are very far from exhaustive … See contact details under:  Barry Pittard, at bottom of right hand sidebar.

Police, Security and Sathya Sai Baba

 The Puttaparti Police expansion and Sai Baba How the infamously corrupt police station at Puttaparthi was established and is financed

The Puttaparti Police expansion and Sai Baba – cont. How the publicly-financed security at Sai Baba ashrams was introduced etc.

Massacre at Prasanthi Nilayam ashram, 1993 part 1part 2

Police expert on security at Prashanthi Nilayam

Supreme Court of India cover-up: petition ad Sathya Sai Baba rejected Scan of affidavit-attested document showing the paper illegally removed from the Supreme Court records so as to cover-up the petition against Sathya Sai Baba made in 2001

The ‘Abode of Peace’ ashram- the murder victims Some details of two of those murdered in cold bloog in Sai Baba’s bedroom in 1993.

The ‘Abode of Peace’ ashram- the pivotal events Ex-CID police officer’s account of the Puttaparthi murders in 1993

 Senior Ex-CID officer J.V. Ram on Sai sex scandals – part 1 part 2part 3 Very grave allegations of numerous sexual abuses by Sathya Sai Baba are reported by this CID sleuth, as well as cases of rape at his ashram   

Senior Ex-CID officer J.V. Ram on Sathya Sai Baba – part 1 —   art 2part 3part 4 Revelations by a top investigator of unexplained murders, deaths and disappearances plus corruption, bribery and other forms of corruption connected to Sathya Sai Baba and/or his minions  

Senior Indian Policeman (Rtd) Speaks Out About Sathya Sai Baba Murders Cover Up Senior Indian police officer published a book with many new facts about the Sai Baba bedroom murders

New Zealand Lawyer Exposes Official Cover Up of Killings In Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Warren C. Pyke LLN (Hons.) LLM (VUW), Barrister, New Zealand calls for a thorough and impartial inquiry into the deaths in Sai Baba’s room

Barry Pittard’s Guide To His Articles On The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Exposing Sai Baba) A guide to articles written on the BBC’s one-hour documentary, The Secret Swami (2004), its making and the controversy it awakened – for busy journalists, scholars, institutional researchers, and the probing reader
Puttaparthi murders Summary of some of the many murders recorded at Sathya Sai Baba ashrams
Westerners desert Sai Baba’s ashrams, says recent visitor A visitor from UK notes that Westerners are not welcome in Prashanthi Nilayam. They are harassed, discriminated and subject to new laws which limit their stay. Numerous foreigners who moved there cannot sell their apartments and are trapped
V.K. Narasimhan on the 1993 Sathya Sai Baba murders Shattering information about the 1993 murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom – private confidencesfrom my friend VKN that I (Robert Priddy) could not doubt
V.K. Narasimhan – confidences to Robert Priddy The decisive point for me was when V.K. Narasimhan told me the truth about the 1993 murders – and he should have known as he was on the scene directly and had access to all the top people involved. All this I recorded in my notebook as soon as he had told me
ON VISITING THE SAI BABA ASHRAMS Many difficulties, disappointments and potential dangers – up to and including murder – face those who visit Sathya Sai Baba ashrams. Tight security is used against visitors to protect the fearful Guru-God and discrimination of non-ethnic Indian followers, especially Westerners, has become rife. Judging by countries I know well, the current list of over 200 names of former members or active followers registered represents only perhaps 5% of those who have left Sathya Sai baba’s organization and movement, as most do not wish to speak out and be demonized – many wish to continue to visit India in safety.

Failings in Indian Justice – by ex-Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan The Indian judicial system as originally inherited from the British stagnated, but is slowly caching up with the developed world – but only on paper, it appears. Abuses and failing are so huge and so many, as any follower of Indian events knows, that police and protected person can and do ‘get away with murder’.

Indian police get away with murder – outrage in India The latest juridical scandal decision outrages Indian citizens, and bears out further what the above entry indicates

Powerful sex abuse testimony against Sathya Sai Baba The German national news journal ‘Bild’ published an account of sexual molestation and subsequent ‘goonda’ harassment of Jens Sethi and his girlfriend after he explained how he refused Sai Baba’s sexual advances. An affidavit to that effect was lodged with Hamburg police

BILD’ Story. “Guru Wants Sex” (Sathya Sai Baba) The damning testimony of Jens Sethi, ex-follower who lodged an affidavit on Sai Baba’s sexual molestation with the Public Prosecutor in Hamburg

Press Council of India Long Silent On Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Killings The Press Council of India was asked by the Anantapur District Journalists’ Union to inquire into the criticism of Sri Sathya Sai Baba against the Press for publishing news items and special articles on the June 6 incident that occurred in Prashanthi Nilayam in which six persons were killed. No response was forthcoming. See also Indian Newspaper Reports of Killings In Sai Baba’s Bedroom

Murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom overview The infamous murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom issue will not simply go away because the case was quashed by his devotees, the Indian Home Minister and Prime Minister at the time

Sathya Sai Baba’s India stable? The claim that India is not unstable, like many other countries, does not hold water at all

Sex, suicide and the guru – Sathya Sai Baba Three articles by one of The Times feature writers, Dominic Kennedy, which expose the nature of Sathya Sai Baba and related suicides

Sathya Sai Baba – questions and his silence In a discourse after the six 1993 killings and executions, Sathya Sai Baba attacked the Anantapur media hotly saying that it contained “nothing but flights of the imagination”. He never answered any questions on his part in the incident and was held above the law by the Indian government.

The Death of Sathya Sai Baba’s brother, Janaki Ramiah Sathya Sai Baba sobbed in public over the death of this property millionaire, reported blackmailer and key accomplice to murders in Sai Baba’s apartment in 1993

Murder and repentence at Prashanthi Nilayam Among the numerous reported murders at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashrams through the decades, few are as remarkable as that perpetrated on Sai Baba’s personally chosen gatekeeper Kumar. It is of the stuff of which horror films can be made

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings
Media, institutional, academic and other third party investigators are being made aware of the sheer extent of the evidence of criminal cover up by successive Indian governments over the years of the Puttaparthi police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom

Will India clean up its Augean police and political stables
The Indian police and government’s attempts to quash the murder of Scarlett MacKeown sends the same signal long observed, cover-ups to the highest levels in India, none more successful – and yet notoriously damaging – than that of the found young men executed by police in Sai Baba’s bedroom


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

There is a Spanish version available:


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V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 7, 2008

The more media, institutional, academic and other third party investigators become aware of the sheer extent of the evidence of criminal cover up by successive Indian governments over the years of the Puttaparthi police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom – the better.

Libel and Slander Replace Due and Proper Third Party Investigation

Researchers will see that what has regrettably too often fallen to the lot of former devotees, and also other critics of Sai Baba (most notably B. Premanand), should have been investigated according to well-laid canons of independent, fully accountable probes by government, parliament, police, judiciary, media and so on.

Instead, there has been, from Sathya Sai Baba ‘down’, the attempt to  ridicule, demean, and slander those many former Sai devotees from countries right round the world who have attempted to raise questions properly to be asked – when serious and sustained allegations are made – of any organization.

The way in which both certain top leaders and various rank-and-file members of the Sathya Sai Organization have covertly reacted in supporting attacks on former devotees on the Internet and elsewhere is light years away from the spirituality they preach. Those who have been so profoundly and viciously slandered and libeled gave decades of deep devotion and service, only to be, virtually from the moment they began to raise questions, demonized.

By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

This culpability of foremost Sathya Sai Officials, but also, to varying extents, certain rank-and-file members of the Sathya Sai Organization, for covertly supporting scurrilous attacks against former devotees and other Sai Baba critics on the Internet and beyond is now being documented, as for example:

The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign

There is a key joint former devotee document:

Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – c/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members. Here is a quote from that source:

Two semi-official pro-Sai web sites – and – which could not operate without the help of central officials of the Sathya Sai Organization, Radio Sai Global Harmony and Sai ashrams, have links to websites which libel all former members who have spoken out. Such links reveal the obvious inability of Sai representatives in these groups to reply honestly and cogently to any of the many published allegations about Sai Baba made by those who were long respected members, in some cases prominent leaders, of his international organization. Furthermore, some members link to extremist web sites which have as their primary agenda contrived attempts at character assassination of ex-followers who present critical views. The most prominent of such sites are examined here and here.

See a list (by no means exhaustive) of typical depradations by those Sathya Sai Baba forces (and those caught up in other cults) who claim to be involved in spirituality: Dissent From Guru Cults Draws Slander and Harassment. See also, Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

The one-hour BBC documentary, The Secret Swami (2004) on Sathya Sai Baba, is compelling, and was the work of more than seven intensive months. Its scope was, however, narrow indeed in comparison to a vast database that discloses that much else ails Puttaparthi Sai Baba and his forces such as the Prashanti Council and the International Sathya Sai Organization.

The Indian Government and Police Cover Up of Killings in Sai Baba’s Bedroom

Even so, The Secret Swami reveals much, including information about gruesome Puttaparthi police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993.

Many Indian journalists and editors and others know of the profound extent of the cover up by the then powerful Home Minister S.B. Chavan, and central, Andhra Pradesh State and local governments. It is a pity that very few have had the courage to speak out publicly on the issue, as has former Andhra Pradesh Home Secretary V.P.B. Nair, who was in office at the time of the killings. It is a sad commentary that very few had the courage in speaking out displayed by those such as Nair and B. Premanand. See transcript of Nair’s statement to the BBC HERE.

Sathya Sai Baba and Chief Officals Caught in Covering Up

The BBC shot more than 80 hours of footage. It saw the impressive line-up of former devotee witnesses from various countries and, correspondingly, the sheer degree of cover up by Sai Baba’s officials. Consequently, the producers, Eamon Hardy and David Savill, obtained from the top Executives of the BBC permission to use the terribly sparingly-used resort of a hidden camera. They were able to get such a noble and spiritual glimpse of the Sai Baba’s world head Goldstein as THIS! Or, should you prefer to see a piece of extemely revealing BBC footage of Sai Baba’s main man (or heavenly messenger?!), see THIS!

Officials included  Sathya Sai Central Trust Secretary, K. Chakravarthy, and Sathya Sai Organization World Chairman, Dr Michael Goldstein of Covena, California, USA. As have other major media organizations, the BBC withstood attempts to silence it by extremely high-ranking officials of Sai Baba’s outfit. Canada’s national broadcaster CBC was waylaid by hundreds of phone calls and emails by Sathya Sai Baba devotees, both before and after the screenings of the documentary in Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program host said on air:

“We stand by the professionalism of our BBC colleagues”.

See my review (not in some respects favourable) of The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision. NOTE: At the foot of this article, there are links to video footage that you can access both on broadband and dialup. See also my articles:

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

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony To BBC – After Years of Silence

India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)

Criticism of Sai Baba No Reflection On Hinduism

Some Key Cultic Responses To Critics

Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More

Some Further Resources

“Murders in Sai Baba’s Bedroom” by B. Premanand. Price India Rs. 400/-, Overseas US $40/- (free postage). Publ. by B. Premanand. 11/7 Chettipalayam Road, Podnadur. 641 023 Tamil Nadu, India

B. Premanand Online Articles

see Wikipedia ‘Basava Premanand’
Massive sabotage try by Sai. Org person foiled

Summary: Key Points on the Sai Baba Murders
Indian official tries to conceal facts

Sexual Abuse, healing, or oil anointing?
Sexual abuse, Gerald Moreno etc. part two !
On Alaya Rahm’s testimonies against Sai Baba
Murders issue – a defamatory critic rebutted.
Further rebuttals about the murders
Conclusive rebuttal about the murders – plus
Conclusive final rebuttal on the murders
Concerning my reputation & writings (1 2 3 4 5 )
Further refutation of Moreno’s obfuscations
Unfounded allegations & an anon. letter
Part Four on the ‘Betrayal’ letter
Baseless allegations about a letter refuted
BBC’s ‘This World’ article on Basava Premanand
More unfounded misleading claims about my writings

Articles by Robert Priddy

See Wikipedia article under ‘Robert Priddy’. He was founder member of Sathya Sai Organization, Norway. Office-bearer Oslo Sai Centre 1983. Chairman from 1987 while acting national contact-person of the Sathya Sai Organisation, Norway 1987-2000.  Retired academic, Philosophy and Social Science, University of Oslo. Robert Priddy was for many years a close and trusted friend of (Late) V.K. Narasimhan, one of India’s great newspaper editors, and editor, following  Professor N. Kasturi, of Sai Baba’s official magazine Sanathana Sarathi.

More Concerning The 1993 Murders In Prashanthi Mandir

Excerpts from newspaper reports with information concerning the murders in Sai Baba’s vicinity at Prashanthi Nilayam of 6-6-1993

The Unresolved, Covered-up 1993 Murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s Bedroom Revisited

Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders

A convenient coverage of many of the issues is at Robert Priddy’s blogsite: See, Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.




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

There is a Spanish version available:



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The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 15, 2007

Note 20 June 2010. As more people quit the Sathya Sai Organization and to inform more recent readers and researchers, I shall, for the while, put to the front of my blogsite an article I wrote in March 2007.

To point to underhand institutional conduct is never enough. Fact in plenty may still be not enough – especially when an institution under question does its best to make it appear that those who question it have malign intent, and have no notable evidence. Or when that organization attempts to bury evidence of statements by its founder that, all unwittingly, militate against both it and him. See:

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

Sathya Sai Baba and Absurdity – Revealed in His Officials’ Documents

However, when a research effort involves an august institution like the BBC, those institutions which have been covering up are shaken, and only then can sometimes become more accountable, as has been the case of UNESCO’s ‘missing’ Media Advisory. In this case, it was UNESCO which was forced to become accountable. Neither the Indian government nor the international Sathya Sai Organization have been so, all along. The BBC has described Sathya Sai Baba as ‘The Secret Swami’. See:

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

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

BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

Earlier that year (2004), the producer of the one-hour television documentary, Eamon Hardy, noted in my hearing that the Sathya Sai Baba saga raised very real questions as to India’s maturity as a democracy. As it turned out, the BBC exposure of the unhealthy Indian Government-Sathya Sai Organization-UNESCO Director nexus was not able to be referred to in ‘The Secret Swami’. It was all too late. However, any intrepid investigator can approach the BBC and UNESCO, quite apart from reading this article fine tooth-comb in hand.


In September 2000, after months of intense effort by former Sai Baba followers from several countries, UNESCO and its joint sponsor the University of Flinders, South Australia, withdrew sponsorship of a large international education conference on human values under Sai Baba’s aegis at Puttaparthi. After the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Chubb, appointed a senior Staff member to investigate, delegates from Flinders University Institute of International Education were required to cancel. UNESCO’s Media Advisory stated:

“The Organisation is deeply concerned about widely reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been leveled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba.”

UNESCO’s Advisory Had a Number of Concerns

The advisory also said that:

“Certain decisions were taken by the Institute of Sathya Sai Education without consultation, such as plans to hold some of the sessions at the Ashram of the Sathya Sai movement in Puttaparthi, and the inclusion of some speakers in the conference programme without their previous consent. Furthermore, the Organization is deeply concerned about widely reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been levelled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba.””

Subheaders For This Article 

UNESCO and University of Flinders (South Australia) Withdraw From Big Sai Baba Conference

Sathya Sai Baba’s Officials Simulate UNESCO Involvement

UNESCO Complains to Press Trust of India

UN’s Dr Leonarda Jekantaite. Witting Sai Baba Tool Or a Babe-in-the-woods?

UNESCO Directors Scuttle Own Senior Officials

Indian Government-Puttaparthi Line: Sai Baba’s and India’s Interests are Synonymous

Top Sai Baba Aide Opens Mouth. Cat Jumps Out

UNESCO Directors Capitulate to India and Sai Baba

Will the Internet Wayback Archive Go Missing Too?

BBC Exposes Two Heads of UNESCO and Their Staff

BBC Catches UNESCO Heads and Staff In Falsehood

Sathya Sai Baba’s Officials Simulate UNESCO Involvement

Indulal Shah, then head of the Sathya Sai Organization, maintained the fiction of UNESCO involvement. Yet UNESCO had already fully informed him of its cancellation many days before the release of the Media Advisory on September 15, 200. In his inaugural conference address, Shah said:

“Let me share with you that U.S. magazine Week has chosen to give respect to the UNESCO conference held in Prasanthi Nilayam highlighting the message of Bhagawan on ‘Values for All”.  (Source: ‘Materials of the 7th World Conference of the Sai Organization’, 20.11.2000).

That is to say, Shah in front of over 900 conferencees spoke of “the UNESCO conference” – when there was no UNESCO involvement! Indeed, Shah and other organisers had spent several previous days dealing with the crisis of UNESCO’s cancellation, the Indian media situation, and so on.

UNESCO Complains to Press Trust of India

When the Times of India printed an alarmingly small portion of the Media Advisory, the world body lodged an objection to the Press Trust of India, It may be mentioned that the Times of India has long been a stronghold of Sai Baba devotees and supporters, including a board director P.N. Bhagwati, Sathya Sai Central Trust member and former Chief Justice of India, more recently with the United Nations.  PTI then forced the Times of India to publish the Media Advisory in full.

UN’s Dr Leonarda Jekantaite. Witting Sai Baba Tool Or a Babe-in-the-woods?

The same fiction of UNESCO participation was also preserved by the appearance on the dais by a high profile UNESCO diplomat, Dr Leonarda Jekantaite. Despite UNESCO’s withdrawal from the conference, Sai Baba’s official organ, Sanathana Sarathi (Volume 43, October 2000, page 317) reported:

Dr Leonarda Jekantaite, Secretary General of UNESCO (Lithuania) presented the Keynote Address.”

 There are two issues here. First, that the official organ of Sai Baba’s Central Trust – distributed worldwide – AND the conference organizers maintained the fiction of UNESCO participation. Second, that Dr Jekantaite still not only attended but gave the keynote speech at the conference, despite the withdrawal of the body she ostensibly represented. A colleague of mine, Robert Priddy, previously head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway and retired lecturer in Philosophy and Social Science at the University of Oslo, corresponded with Dr Jekantaite on this matter. Very lamely, she excused herself by saying that she attended in a personal capacity. This line would seriously obscure the fact that the conference presenters portrayed Dr Jekantaite to the conferencees as the UNESCO representative. Was she was being incredibly naïve, being an unwitting propagandist tool in the conference organizers’ hands? Or was she actually prepared to be a witting tool in the hands of Sai Baba’s demonstrably dishonest organizers like Indulal Shah in allowing her presence to suggest UNESCO’s presence at the conference? Was she in fact a Sai Baba devotee? Was there anything all that “personal” about her reasons for staying on at the conference? A simple, natural, truthful response in her email to one who had long taught in one of the world’s foremost universities could have clarified much.

UNESCO Directors Scuttle Own Senior Officials

Another point that needs more attention – because, being a ‘hot’ topic, allegations of sexual abuse can tend to obscure other issues – was UNESCO’s dissatisfaction that conference organizers had maintained that the conference was to be held separately from Sai Baba’s ashram. Those who attack the Media Advisory (and many other issues about Sai Baba and his often heavily unaccountable organization well-documented by former devotee and other critics and some of the world’s leading media) need to be truthful about this. Nor did the UNESCO director and deputy director honor the earlier hard work of some of its most senior officials involved in the investigations and approvals that lead to the framing of the advisory. In repudiating the advisory these two officials were, in effect, repudiating their own officials, like Zhou Nanzhao, then head of UNESCO-ACEID in Thailand.

It is known that at the conference the UNESCO withdrawal was NOT mentioned! Clearly – highly typical of Sai Baba’s managers – major ‘stage management’ was going on.

Indian Government-Puttaparthi Line: Sai Baba’s and India’s Interests are Synonymous

Sai Baba critics who deal with senior government officials both in India and other countries have repeatedly found that Sai Baba’s propagandists have succeeded in creating the image that what affects Sai Baba affects all of India. One of the top British Foreign Officials told former Labor MP for Putney Tony Colman that where Sai Baba was concerned the Blair government did not want to ‘rock the boat’ with India. Mr Colman and (separately) some fifty other parliamentarians from various Parties, who at first had signed a Petition to raise the Sai Baba matter in the House of Commons, were asked by the Whips and others, to back off. Considerable trade deals, like the one billion plus sale by Britain to India of Hawk fighters were mentioned. Particularly active in efforts not to rock any ‘boats’ were Labor Friends of India, Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India, and the Indo-British Parliamentary Group. In one case, a leading international lawyer (who will speak to media of best repute) reported that he was told by senior London Metropolitan Police (who were far from happy about it) that Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office had sent an instruction that the police were not further to pursue investigation related to Sai Baba, because the matter was an ‘international’ one.

Top Sai Baba Aide Opens Mouth. Cat Jumps Out

Little knowing that his triumphant revelations on an official Puttaparthi website would later come back to haunt him, Dr G. Venkataraman, Sai Baba’s deputy world head, who also leads the attempt to bring round-the-clock satellite Sai Baba radio to every corner of the globe, let quite a big ‘cat’ out of the bag in an offical Puttaparthi website. Hitherto, Sai Baba’s organization has been noted for its glacial silence in the face of the many and serious worldwide allegations (which are far from being solely about sexual molestation of boys and young men) against its founder. But what seemed such a triumph was clearly too much to hold back.

 Vol_02/05March01/03_Spiritual_Blossoms/ 02_Reflection/reflection.htm

But the ‘cat’ was soon to scratch. Venkataraman states:

“Both the Foreign Minister and this diplomat were terribly upset that nothing had been done this far”

Indian Diplomat Writes to UNESCO Head

India’s UNESCO representative (though he does not name her, this was Mrs Neelam Sabharwal, since named India’s Ambassador to Cyprus) then wrote, according to G. Venkataraman, to UNESCO’s Deputy Director General, Koïchiro Matsuura, saying that:

“the “Government of India considers Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his movement a national asset and takes strong exception to UNESCO press release, which spreads wholly unfounded and unsubstantiated allegation  against Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I would therefore request you to take immediate steps to remove the objectionable press advisory from the UNESCO website. I would also appreciate an expression of regret for the damage caused to one of India’s revered public figures, without first verifying the facts and any consultation with Indian authorities.”

UNESCO Directors Capitulate to India and Sai Baba

Dr. Venkataraman quotes what he claims to be the letter of reply to India’s UNESCO representative by UNESCO’s Deputy Director General:

“I do appreciate this concern and wish to inform you that following your personal intervention, the media advisory in question was immediately withdrawn from the archives of the UNESCO’s web site for education.

“I should also like to take this opportunity to say how much the Organisation regrets this unfortunate incident and to reiterate to you, on behalf of the Director General, that the Organisation attaches the greatest importance to the varied forms of fruitful collaboration that we have enjoyed with your country for many years.

“I hope this letter will set your mind at rest and dispel any misunderstanding.”

Venkataraman’s account (which the BBC later showed to be correct) was that he succeeded in getting (now former Prime Minister) A.B. Vajpayee’s Foreign Minister, Yaswant Sinha, and a former Indian Ambassador to France at this time now at UNESCO, to get the head of UNESCO to suppress the Media Advisory from its official website.

Will the Internet Wayback Archive Go Missing T00?

Fortunately, the document had been cached on the ‘Internet wayback machine’ and is now found at Click Here

One would not have been surprised if, given the power they wield in many high places, Sai Baba’s people had tried to obtain the removal of this document. One may guess, given their known track record for using high-profile devotees to threaten institutions with litigation, that the continued existence of this file in the Internet archive owes more to the integrity of the company operating this remarkable service than it does to the probity of Sai Baba’s top officials. (We shall report widely on the Internet should that document go missing too). Perhaps they accepted as a fait accompli that, in any case, the document has been widely copied to the Internet. Or else that the document – should anyone try to dispute the accuracy of the copies of it on former devotee and other websites – is in any case obtainable from the written archives of UNESCO.

Intimate Nexus Between the Indian Government and Sai Baba

Like a surprise gift to the rest of the world, here was G. Venkataraman’s proud revelation of a Puttaparthi-Indian government ploy to withdraw the Media Advisory. It was provided to David Savill, Assistant Producer of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami”. Given that the screening date fast approached, the intensive, months-long work on this documentary were to be shortly concluded. Nonetheless, David Savill wrote and spoke by phone to UNESCO (Paris). He saw that UNESCO was in cover-up mode (a mode observed by all media, academic and other investigators who have attempted to probe The Sathya Sai Organization).

It was clear that Venkataraman was absolutely right. The UNESCO head, via his Deputy Director, had obliged  India in this matter.

For the many survivors of Sai Baba around the world, this felt like a setback.  It had been exhausting work Some of it was terribly sensitive, because of varying responses of survivors of sexual and other abuses. It was often hard to revisit what had been for them the most shocking betrayal. 

In passing, I may add that obtaining coherent accounts from abuse victims is one of the most difficult of assignments. Survivors, not to mention their families, can make honest mistakes about dates, times, etc., and need experienced, highly competent professional counselers to debrief them. The profoundly dishonest internet proxy for Sathya Sai Baba forces conveniently ignore such facts. Over many months of carefully documented submissions, proof of credentials, etc., (an effort also pursued with the University of Flinders), organized former Sathya Sai Baba followers from many countries had gone to great pains to submit hard evidence (most of it too sensitive to be released to this day, except to bona fide institutions) against Sai Baba and senior leaders to the world body.

BBC Exposes Two Heads of UNESCO and Their Staff

Early in 2004, UNESCO spokespersons told media and other enquirers that the Advisory did not now reflect its views. David Savill reports that only after his strenuous questioning of a senior UNESCO spokesperson, did she, Sue Williams, finally agree in writing to Mr Savill that currently “UNESCO does not regret issuing the media release of September 15 2000.” Here was a backflip! The BBC had enforced from Mrs Williams an extraordinary admission. She directly contradicted what senior UNESCO officials had told a number of enquirers both by phone and email. One  example was an email to the West Australian newspaper’s Education Correspondent Susan Hewitt on February 5, 2004. By phone – at the same time – a senior UNESCO official told Garth Wynne, the Principal of Church of Christ Grammar School, Perth, Western Australia (who acted in the Sai Baba matter on behalf of  the then Anglican Archbishop of Australia, Dr Peter Carnley) that the Advisory had simply been “routinely purged”.

BBC Catches UNESCO Heads and Staff In Falsehood

The Deputy Director General’s statement about the Advisory being “immediately withdrawn” contradicts a number of statements emerging from other officials like Isabel le Fournis and the late Elke Salas Rossenbach. They gave out the ‘routine purge’ fabrication. After my repeated attempts, and repeated evasions by UNESCO (Paris) officials, to obtain the facts, Sue Williams emailed me, May 13, 2004, stating:

“the media advisory dealing with this issue resulted from a routine operation to purge and update the site.”

That this account is false is readily shown in UNESCO’s stance appeasing India’s then Foreign Minister that the media advisory “does not now reflect UNESCO’s position”.

Having sensed serious UNESCO contradiction and evasion – particularly in the light of the Venkataraman material – the BBC first tactically held back and then, once the spins span thick and fast, released the whole Venkataraman piece to the UNESCO official, Sue Williams, whose immediate boss was the Deputy Director General.  After repeated pressure from the BBC via phone and email, Ms Williams wrote to the BBC:

“UNESCO does not regret issuing the media release of September 15 2000″.

The acrobatics were quite something to watch!Furthermore, BBC staff spoke to India’s then Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Mrs Neelam Sabharwal, (since named India’s Ambassador to Cyprus). She greeted them with the blank statement that “Sai Baba is a respected Godman” and no, she didn’t know why UNESCO had issued a media advisory and that it had been withdrawn. It is a pity for her that Dr G. Venkataraman’s account so gravely, though unintentionally, questions her veracity.

Whether it is more holy to bow to India or to bow to the BBC might also provoke an interesting discussion. Perhaps, in contorting fashion, UNESCO has tried to bow to them both.

The Public Petition

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

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

There is a Spanish version available:  



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Posted in Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »