Resumé of some events and valid questions
The evidence suggests that the four bodies, allegedly found in Sai Baba's bedroom (and photographed with little blood visible in unnatural positions in each their corner of it), were taken from an adjoining room where they had been shot and which contained pools of blood.
After the assassinations of Mahatma
Gandhi, and the prime ministers Indira Gandhi and later her son, Rajiv
Gandhi, the killers were not automatically killed. The law was allowed
to take its course and police acted bravely to take alive the killers
they apprehended. However, Sai Baba issued a press statement that there
was no attempt on his life. This contradicted the statement of the police
inspector who penned the First Incident Report, and it also nullified
the motive stated by the police for their shooting the four intruders.
He refused to cooperate with any further inquiries by police or press,
but discussed the matter in total secrecy with some of his staff, his
younger brother Jankira Ramiah and many visiting high court judges and
top politicians of the country. In this situation, the police were almost
powerless and intimidated into not questioning certain suspects or carrying
out investigations with any kind of normal thoroughness. From studying
official reports made by the police and the courts that were forced to
deal with a number of pleas, the investigations were quite patently a
complete travesty of police work, leaving almost nothing but loose ends,
unquestioned eye-witnesses and a veritable rats' nest of contradictory
statements, doubtful and obviously concocted evidence.
Home Minister S.B. Chavan, who visited Sai Baba 4 days after the event, is reported to have said that Baba "scolded the persons creating the noise, bolting the door from the inside." An official First Information Report (Annexure 144) reports Sai Baba shouting 'Fools, get out'. The question is why Sathya Sai Baba did not intervene.
The Indian Express (13-6-1993) reported that a boy in is early teens - Subbappayya - who was in Sai Baba's room when the assailants knocked saying there was a telegram for Sai Baba opened the door. They attempted to attack him, but the dagger only penetrated his shirt and he escaped unharmed. He bolted the door and alerted Baba to the impending danger.
However, writes the Express, "what sounds illogical is that if Subbappayya had closed the door and bolted it from behind, how could the alleged assailants enter Baba's personal chambers after attacking the four guards on the ground floor? There are no indications of the alleged assailants or somebody applying pressure on the doors to open them. The police have taken Subbapayya's torn shirt into their possession... The investigating officers are tight-lipped to the question as to how the assailants could get into Baba's chamber."
The next great question is why was a young teenage boy in Sai Baba's chambers at the time? Further, why did the ashram authorities hide him away and deny police access to him for giving evidence? Why did they do the same with the two injured Sevadal attendants who had been downstairs with Radhakrishnan, namely, Baba's cook Vishnu Bhatt and the assistant Anil Patley? That the ashram authorities kept them away from any interrogation on various pretexts is not a fact disputed by any source.
It seems that Sai Baba's movements
were as follows: EITHER down the rear staircase from his rooms to the
kitchen entrance opposite the South Prashanthi blocks. Into the ladies
entrance to the mandir and through it to the garage building (into what
is sometimes known as the green room?) OR through a door onto the 1st
floor behind the balcony and through to a room on the 1st floor of the
mandir. The first is the most likely, since there were reports that he
had spoken briefly to persons outside the rear of the mandir.
He was in any case guarded in a room not 30 yards from the scene of action while police conferred with ashram and central Trust authorities until the intruders were shot, some three hours later (according to foreign visitors who witnessed the sounds of the shooting spree in which 27 rounds were let off). The police claim the time of the shooting was at 10.30 p.m., but several devotees report having heard a siren at 10.30 p.m., followed by a gunshot. Who shot (at) who then is an unanswered question. Then, much later, devotees heard a round of firing of at least 20 rounds at around 1.30 p.m.
A reader remarked in a letter
to the Canara Times 5-7-1993. Gautama Buddha once told people not to accept
anything without question, including his own teachings. In contrast we
have a petty prestidigitator calling himself a saint and his followers
asking us not to question him. Mr. Indulal Shah, Chairman of the International Sathya Sai Organization told the press " the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it." (The Hindu, 10-6-1993) This wish was fulfilled in effect since no charges were made by the ashram and Trust authorities, Sai Baba was never even questioned and the entire matter was eventually quashed from above.
Why would the Home Minister of India meet Sathya Sai Baba privately in such haste? Firstly, he had already long been a devotee and he would surely have offered all his influence to protect SB from any untoward follow-up of the various murders, of which he was fully cognisant. He was never questioned by police or CBI investigators, which is most questionable.
(The Hindu, Hyderabad 27-10-1995 Police Reshuffle. Oct. 26. In a reshuffle of senior IPS officers, Mr. H.J. Dora, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) was transferred and posted as additional DGP, CID. H.J. Dora is referred to as Sai Baba’s ‘Man Friday’, directed the filing of the false First Incident Report and destroyed much evidence, and thereby is promoted).
The subsequent governmental interference in the CBI investigation - sending the two chief investigators away to other postings in India virtually proves government fiat in the matter to protect their 'living god'. The Home Minister had the power to bring that about, backed as he was by the devotee Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.
Later the entire CBI investigation was quashed and never heard of more, well before any results could be produced. This surely speaks its own clear language. Add to this the confidence I received from my very good friend, V. K. Narasimhan, who was Sai Baba's close sevitor and editor of his official Prashanthi journal, Sanathana Sarathi. He was present to a conversation between the brother Mr. Janaki Ramiah and the Home Minister S.B. Chavan where they congratulated one another on having got the four alleged assailants murdered by the police and laughed saying 'Dead men tell no tales'. This shocked Narasimhan deeply, who apparently never recovered his previous somewhat troubled faith fully after that. He told me, referring to those who negotiated with the police on behalf of Sai Baba (including his brother Janakiramiah and Colonel Joga Rao) that “they did a terrible thing”. By using a hold that ashram authorities had gained over them when they allowed two murderers of a German lady to 'escape' in return for the money she was killed for in her new room in Prashanthi (about Rs. 80,000.-), they convinced the police to shoot down the four intruders, who were barricaded inside Sai Baba's bedroom apartment!
Many years later (in 2013) an eyewitness, Eileen Weed (aka 'Divya') who was living with Sai Baba's sister Venkamma has described the events of that night and added the following, which just shows the mentality which allowed the murders to be covered up:- On 2. sep. 2012, at 15.10, Divya wrote in a letter home: "We all heard the next morning that SB gave the OK to kill the intruders after being strongly advised to do so, and that Janikiram was with SB then also and agreed (and someone else too, was it Jogo Rao? I forgot who). We did not have much shock about it - after all, we were brainwashed with stories of Rama and Krishan, it was natural for us to accept Avatars wanted to murder the bad guys; plus, we thought, much better to avoid controversy and possible unpleasant truths (or what we thought might be lies) getting out."
There were conflicting reports about many things, especially since the Puttaparthi police FIR (First Incident Report) was almost entirely a false construction, a fact so evident that the authorities had to relieve the police of th case and put it in the hands of the Criminal Bureau of Investigation. Added to this was a large amount of confusing statements by different ashram officials, which were most likely at least in part an attempt at disinformation and red herring trails. While Sai Baba's younger brother, Janakiramiah, claimed the intruders were there to assassinate Sai Baba, the man himself firmly denied this! One of the most difficult contradictions to resolve was the account of how the four intruders who had killed two servitors were entrapped. One account held that villagers and students who had heard the alarm long before the police could react (being inebriated) had smashed open some way of entry to the interview room and apartment, buond the four intruders and beaten them - either very severely or actually to death. Opposed to this was the account which reflected what was found after the police were done with the matter (which was photographed quite thoroughly), namely, that the four had been shot in Sai Baba's rooms (where their bodies were later found by the photographer and others) after having locked themselves inside. The police allegedly forced an entrance (a smashed door was cited as evidence).
After very deeply probing investigations by critics (like Basava Premanand) and several others, the picture emerges more and more clearly to indicate that the four were bound and beaten on the temple veranda by a mob. This is most credibly now backed up by the eyewitness Eileen Weed who - though she could not see the veranda area from her vantage point behind and above the temple complex -, heard what young male relatives of Sai Baba said as they went back and forth to the murder scene (where they were allowed in) and the elder sister Venkamma'a apartment, from where Eileen was following events all night. It seems the assailants did not (all) die as a result of the beatings, but there is no clinching evidence. As was reported in the press, after back-and-forth discussions between the Sathya Sai Baba authorities and the police (possibly what was apparently a long stand-off between them and those of the four who may have been conscious). The Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad 26-6-1993 reported, "Meanwhile, Janakiramaiah and Col. Joga Rao, who is also one of the trustees, came rushing and conferred with Satya Sai Baba for 10 minutes. Coming out of the Baba’s ground floor chamber, the eyewitness said, Janakiramaiah reportedly told the students to ‘lynch them’. ("Vallani kattesinaru, champeyundira…" They are tied. Now kill them)" This indicates that they were boundup and werestill alive until the police fired their 30 or so bullets into them. (see here). To put the lid on the matter, a most reliable report by Eileen Weed shows how Sai Baba bribed all his family or ashram insiders heavily with Rs. 50,000 each, obviously to keep silent (not least about his involvement). See http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/8/eyewitness.html#bribes