Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Sachin Tendulkar’

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.

—————————————————————

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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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.

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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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