Document date: 11-12-04
NEW DELHI, Nov 12. — Godmen and controversies have always gone hand in hand. Rajnish, Sai Baba, Dhiren Brahmachari and Chandraswami. And now the Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswati, who was projected by the erstwhile NDA regime as the honest broker in the Ayodhya tangle.
The most controversial of the lot were of course Rajnish and Satya Sai Baba. Rajnish of the “free- sex” Osho Commune had the distinction of being either denied entry or was deported from at least 21 countries.
His 64,000 acre Oregon ashram, which had the largest fleet of Rolls Royce in the world was the envy of one and all, but everything unravelled when his private secretary, Ma Anand Sheela, fled from the ashram and was later arrested for charges of arson, wire-tapping and attempted murder.
He subsequently pleaded guilty on two of the 35 charges brought against him by the FBI and the US Immigration Service and was fined $ 400,000 and deported to India where he set up the Osho Commune.
Equally controversial has been the wiry-haired Sai Baba who has the country’s who’s who lining up for his darshan at Prashanti Nilayam at Andhra. A 1993 incident in which police shot dead four of his followers and his attendants murdered two was hushed up with intervention from the top. The the then home minister, SB Chavan. The Baba, who was present when the four were shot dead, was never questioned.
Chandraswami was quizzed in connection with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. But investigating agencies couldn’t simply put their fingers on his links with international arms dealers such as Adnan Khasoggi. The case of the gangster and the godmen is a continuing one. — SNS