The Writ Petition
Source: 'Murders in Sai Baba's bedroom' from B. Premanand
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Part - 1
THE WRIT PETITION
The Writ Petition - W.P. No. 14454 of 1993 -Affidavit of the Petitioner
The Writ Petition - W.P. No.14454 of 1993 -Writ Petition filed under the High Court of Andhra Pradesh
Memorandum of Writ Petition Miscellaneous Petition -W.P. M.P. No. 18370 of 1993 in W.P. No. 14454 of 1993Memorandum of Writ Petition Misc. Petition -W.R M.P. No. 18371 of 1993 in W.R No. 14454 of 19
News Item from -The Tribune of 1st November 1993-1993 (4) Scale
News Item from -The
Tribune TM of 1.11.93 - 1994 (1) Scale
Argument by Petitioner on 28.9.1993
Argument for Petitioner on 23.2.1994
Argument by Shri K.N. Balgopal on 23.2.1994 before the Hon. Justice Ramakrishnam RaIu, Court No.23:
Argument for Respondents on 1.3.1994
to the Respondents Arguments on 4.3.1994
Press Release on Dismissal
Who Committed Perjury?
The Oath of the Judge - The Judgment in W.P. No.14454 of 1993
Judges Rush to Puttaparthi
Comments on Judgment in Cr. W.P. No. 14454/193 - B. Premanand
INDIAN SKEPTIC, Vol.6, No. 3, July 1993.
Six Murders at the Abode of Peace!
Sathya Sai Baba had announced that nothing happens in the universe without his specific WILL.
On the 7th night I was awakened from deep sleep by my son and it took me sometime to get up and open the door as I was dead tired. I was still drowsing when he told me "Did you hear the TV news which announced six murders at Prashantinilayam? I thought he was joking to alert me from the sleep. Next day early newspapers proved it was true.
1. The way in which the press, police, government etc., are reporting the incident like suppressing the news of the incident to the outside world by 12 hours;
2. Keeping silent over the name of the student who warned Sai Baba and helped him to escape by the back door and not informing how he happened to be in Sai Baba's bedroom;
3. The stone silence of Sai Baba and his inner circle members;
4. The murder of the four alleged assailants by the police shooting them allegedly point blank;
5. Not informing how they collected the information when two of the security staff were murdered and the rest two seriously injured, "that the 4 assailants on the pretext of a telegram gained entry to the private chambers of Sai Baba after stabbing the security staff;
6. Hiding from the public the telegram alleged to have been received from Chandraswami;
7. Refusing the press a copy of the F.I.R., and the contradictory statements made by the police, points out that Sai Baba and the police are trying hard to hide many things and there is something fishy about the whole affair. I could note down more than hundred questions after reading The Hindu, Indian Express, Times of India, Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi. They have no answers.
23rd June 1993
Advocate, Supreme Court,
18/21, W.E.A. Karol Bagh, New Delhi - 110 005.
Tel.: (Off.): 5738647, 5738827, 5746498, (Res.): 678911. Fax: 011-575-1308.
To: Shri S.B. Chavan, Home Minister,
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, North Block, New Delhi.
Under instructions from my client Shri B. Premanand, Convenor, Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal in India and resident of Mettur Bungalow, Chettipalayam Road, Podanur - 641023. (Tamil Nadu), I address you as under:
1. My client above named is the Convenor of the CSICOP which is a Committee registered in United States and having branches all over the world with a Member-ship of 600 persons. The members of the Committee are engaged in dispelling the superstitious and blind beliefs that have gripped the society in India and the World at large. That as a tribute to the exemplary contribution made by my client for the development of scientific temper, humanism, and the concept of enquiry and reform as enshrined in the Directive Principles of the Constitution, a Fellowship was awarded to my client by the National Council of Science, Technology & Communication (NCSTC).
2. My client apart from being a philanthropist of national eminence, has also attained mastery of over 1144 miracles - a feat for which he was interviewed by the Doordarshan and also Television Networks, the world over. My client is also the moving spirit behind the Jan Vigyan Yatra introduced by the Department of Science and Technology Government of India, to explain miracles. My client had time and again explained to the gullible public at large that Puttaparthi Sai Baba is not endowed with any miraculous powers as projected by the said Baba. That one of the common feats which Sai Baba used to indulge in, to be fool the gullible public is to materialize from the atmosphere gold necklaces and gift the same to his elite & rich devotees.
3. That on one such occasion, when my client challenged the authenticity, veracity and genuineness of the claims of Sai Baba, he was falsely arrested by the Andhra Pradesh Police at Konnikonda on lst January, 1986 at about 8.30 a.m., while he was proceeding to Puttaparthi with 500 volunteers from different parts of the country. Pursuant to the said arrest my client had filed a Civil Writ Petition No. 9796 of 1986 in the High Court of Judicature of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad, challenging inter alia, the production of gold necklaces by the Sai Baba from the atmosphere, the same being violative of Section 11 of the Gold Control Act as it then existed, as the permission of the Gold Control Administrator was a mandatory requirement for preparing, manufacturing, repairing or polishing gold. To support the averments made in the petition, the petitioner had also a video cassette tape depicting the production of gold necklace purportedly from the air by Sai Baba and handing over the same to the daughter of a then Supreme Court Judge at the marriage of learned Judge's daughter which was solemnized in the presence of Sai Baba. It is needless to point out that in the aforesaid cassette at the time when the necklace was taken out, the Judge's daughter remarked in her mother tongue that Baba had hidden the necklace in his left hand and was passing it off to the right hand, at which the Hon'ble Judge remarked that he is Bhagwan and advised her not to make such comments. In the Hon'ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh I appeared on behalf of my client above named and after detailed argument the Hon'ble' single Judge conceded locus standi for filing the petition, but dismissed the petition on the ground that the act of the Sai Baba in producing gold necklaces from the air does not amount to manufacture of gold as he had materialized the same by his divine powers and he was only gifting it to his devotees.
4. My client above named being aggrieved by the aforesaid Judgement, preferred a writ appeal in the Hon'ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh wherein it was pleaded that spiritual power is no defense recognized in law because you cannot prove or disprove its existence or non-existence. I had also pointed out to the Court during the course of arguments that if Sai Baba is entitled to one such privilege, the same privilege can also be availed of by notorious smugglers in case they make a simple declaration that they have materialized it by their divine powers, and they have no intention to sell the same. It was further contented before the Division Bench that in case Sai Baba could produce something from nothing, the same is contrary to the well established scientific principle enunciated by Sir Isaac Newton in his "Law of Conservation of Energy" which stipulates that matter can neither be created nor destroyed but only its form can be changed and in case Sai Baba's feat is an exception to this universally accepted scientific theory, then suitable amendments be made in Indian Science Text Books to that effect. The said petition was also dismissed and subsequently the Gold Control Act was repealed.
5. The influence which Sai Baba wields is so draconian that the President of India, Prime Minister, some Governors, eminent bureaucrats and even certain Judges use to regularly visit Him to seek his blessing. It would not be out of place to mention that you too happen to be one of his cherished devotees. That in November 1991 when the then President of India, Shri R. Venkatarman expressed his desire to visit Puttaparthi, I had under instructions from my client, issued a notice to him requesting him not to identify himself with men of questionable reputation as that would damage the secular fabric of the country especially when the country was passing through a communal frenzy. In the said notice, I had reminded him that he had taken oath under the Constitution of India to protect the people of India and not the god-men of India. Subsequent to the said notice, a press release was issued from the President's Office stating that the President would be on a private visit to Puttaparthi. Several months later, I had issued a legal notice to the Controller and Auditor General of India inquiring from him as to whether the expenses of the presidential visit to Puttaparthi was born by the President himself or whether the same were debited to the Consolidated Fund of India, and till date he is yet to reply to the same.
6. The same Sai Baba had once proclaimed that he is the avataar of Shirdi Sai Baba, the pious Saint. When his alleged credentials were challenged by my client, he proclaimed that he is the avataar of Lord Shiva. When my client pointed out to him that Lord Shiva had no avataars, Sai Baba once again changed his genealogy and proclaimed that he is the avataar of other Gods.
7. The above facts are brought to your notice only to enlighten you on the antecedents of a man who has a mercurial monetary empire worth about Rs. 6000 crores.
8. I would like to remind you of the episode that took place on 6.6.1993 at Prashanti Nilayam, the abode of Sai Baba in Puttaparthi in which under the garb of protecting the life of Sai Baba which was supposed to be in danger, certain policemen of the Andhra Pradesh Govt. clandestinely opened fire on certain persons who were alleged to have in their possession certain pen knives and other petty weapons. My client says that on a perusal of the press clippings, some of those who died in the police encounter included some of the most trusted lieutenants of Sai Baba who belonged to his inner circle. The swiftness with which the police opened fire to save the life of a god-man who purportedly has powers to materialize from the atmosphere articles of his choice and the manner in which the god-man scurried for safety by locking himself in a room, contradicts his divine powers, and also compels right thinking citizens of the country to feel that behind the alleged assault, there is a sea of suspicion and mystery which should be unraveled in public interest.
9. This has become necessary taking into consideration the dictatorial way in which the police have attempted to destroy the available evidence which is an offence under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code as is implicit from the brutal behaviour, the police exhibited to the relatives of the bereaved ones when they approached the authorities for the dead bodies of those killed in the alleged encounter. It is suspected that those who were unceremoniously gunned to death in this gory incident, were witnesses to certain incidents which would perhaps show Sai Baba in a different light than what he portrays.
10. That from the press clippings my client understands that certain officials of the C.B.I., are already camping in Puttaparthi to project a facade of an inquiry which will yield no results as the State Government has denied them permission to investigate, nor has there been till date a mandatory official notification directing the C.B.I. to inquire into the aforesaid incident.
11. In case, there is some truth in the alleged assault, my client condemns in no uncertain terms those responsible for the same.
12. You had shown an uncanny alacrity by rushing to Puttaparthi by a special plane on hearing the news, a conduct which you failed to live up to, when Bombay was burning. All the same, despite your being a true follower of Sai Baba, my client continues to have abundant faith in you, when it comes to national interest, as you have taken oath under the Constitution and therefore, in public interest to ensure that justice is not only done but seems to have been done. I have instructions from my client to request you to order an impartial inquiry in the said incidence through an impartial agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation or otherwise a judicial inquiry to be conducted by any Judge of your choice subject to the stipulation that he is not a devotee of Sai Baba, to inquire into the alleged assault and also the circumstances in which certain people died on account of police firing and further to inquire as to how one such godmanhas amassed an enviable empire of about Rs. 6000 crores. In case, within 14 days from the date of receipt of this notice, you chose not to initiate any action, my client would be constrained to involve himself in the pain of legal proceedings which, you may please note, would be at your costs and consequences.
A copy of this notice is being retained in my office for ready reference.
Yours faithfully, Sd., by K.N. Balgopal,
INDIAN SKEPTIC, Vol.6, No.6, October 1993.
Writ Petition filed in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh for an Impartial Enquiry into the incidents at Sai Baba's residence on 6.6.1993 and other murky incidents.
With great difficulty we have filed a Writ Petition No. 14454 of 1993 on 27.9.1993 in the A. P. High Court seeking direction to Central Government to order an impartial investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation into the incidents which led to the killing of six persons by the police and others on 6.6.1993 in Prashanthi Nilayam, the residence of Sathya Sai Baba.
The petition came up for admission on 28.9.1993, and Hon'ble Justice Peddappa Reddy, while issuing notice to the respondents directed State and Central Governments to file the counter within four weeks and posted the matter to 4.11.1993 for admission.
The Government pleaders tried their best to refer the petition to the full bench of the High Court where many such petitions are pending the report of the Judicial Commission regarding the powers of the courts to order CBI enquiry.
The advocates for the petitioner are Shri K. N. Balgopal, Shri B. Tarakam and Shri D. Vijay Kumar.
K. N. Balgopal produced the copy of the recent judgment passed last month by the full bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court which was chaired by the Chief Justice of India wherein the court held that Courts are the Supreme and when the law enforcement department and the state and central governments fail to give justice to the citizens it is their duty to uphold the Constitution. This case also was argued by K.N. Balgopal in the Supreme Court.
We thank the Hyderabad Newspapers for reporting of the writ petition in the News Papers.
THE WRIT PETITION
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE
ANDHRA PRADESH AT HYDERABAD
W.P. No. 14454 of 1993
Union of India represented by its Secretary For Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi and others.
1. 6-6-1993 Incident occurred at Prashanti Nilayam at 10.30 p.m. Puttaparthi.
2. Petitioner was interviewed by the Television net Work, the world over.
3. WP. No. 9796/87 was dismissed by this Court
4. WA. No. 1255/86 was dismissed by this Court
5. Sathya Sai Baba amassed a financial empire worth about Rs. 6,000/- crores.
6. Air-strip was constructed at Puttaparthi
7. F.I.R registered at the instance of S.H.O., Puttaparthi
8. Bodies of 4 personal aides of Sathya Sai Baba were removed.
9. The then State Home Minister who is one of the well known devotees of Sathya Sai Baba
10. Top Police officials involved in the 'investigation' process are also the devotees
11. Doctors of the local hospital are quoted to have said that many Dead bodies of women brought from the Ashram to the hospital for post-mortem bore vivid marks of torture.
12. In fact, Tal Brooke one of the Baba's closest American devotees, has revealed the seamy side of the Baba's empire when he denounces the latter as a "hermaphrodite & a sexual pervert" in his book "Lord of the Air."
Annexure - 2
1. Gold Control Act.
2. Constitution of India.
Sd. D. Vijay Kumar, Counsel for Petitioner.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE
ANDHRA PRADESH AT HYDERABAD
W.P. No.: 14454 of 1993
Between:B. Premanand .......Petitioner And Union of India represented by its Secretary for Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi and others .......Respondents
AFFIDAVIT OF THE PETITIONER HEREIN
I, B. Premanand, Son of Sri K. B. Prabhu, aged 63 years, Resident of Podanur, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu State - 641023, having now temporarily come down to Hyderabad do hereby solemnly and sincerely affirm and state as follows:
1. I am the petitioner herein as such I am well acquainted with facts of the case.
2. In this Writ Petition I am seeking a Writ of Mandamus, order or direction more particularly one in the nature of Writ of Mandamus directing the lst respondent to direct the 2nd respondent herein to order an inquiry into the matter and to file the investigation report over the murky episode which took place at Prashanti Nilayam. The Abode of peace at Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District, Andhra Pradesh State at 10-30 p.m. on 6th June, 1993 and pass such other order or orders as the honourable Court may deem fit and proper.
3. I am the Convenor of the Indian Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (ICSICOP) which is a cooperating member of CSICOP registered in United States and having cooperating committees all over the World. The members of the Indian Committee are engaged in dispelling the superstitious and blind beliefs that have gripped the society in India and the world at large. That as a tribute to my exemplary contribution made for the development of the scientific temper, humanism, and the concept of enquiry and reform as enshrined in the Directive Principles of the Constitution, I was awarded a Fellowship by the National Council of Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) at New Delhi.
4. Apart from being a philanthropist of national eminence, I have also attained mastery over 1500 miracles-psychic phenomena a feat for which I was interviewed by the Television Network, the world over. I am also the moving spirit behind the Jan Vigyan Jatha sponsored by NCSTC Network, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi to explain miracles. Hence as a person concerned with the Scientific Investigation and having locus-standi I can file this Writ Petition as a public interest litigation.
5. I am seeking to challenge the dubious investigation that is being currently conducted by the police officials of the Andhra Pradesh i.e., Respondents 4 to 6 herein over the incident which took place on 6th June of 1993 at about 10-30 p.m. at the Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District, which is otherwise known as the abode of Peace and also the permanent hermitage of self-styled God-man, more commonly known as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, wherein 6 inmates of the aforesaid ashram were brutally gunned down to death, under the most shocking and mysterious circumstances.
6. That Puttaparthi Sathya Sai Baba like the other Godmen had a humble beginning until he was in a position to draw into his net eminent personalities both national and international including the heads of States, the Bureaucracy, the Allied Forces Industrialists and also the Judiciary. That he had, by adopting sleight of hand methods, produced from the atmosphere certain articles like gold necklaces which he would lavishly bestow on the elite and to assuage the gullible public, he presented them with pinches of holy ashes, otherwise known as "Vibhuti". That on one occasion he allegedly materialized a gold necklace from the atmosphere at the wedding ceremony of the daughter of a then Sitting Honourable Judge of the Supreme Court. That the feat was questioned by me as amounting to manufacture of gold without the consent of the Gold Control Administrator as provided under Sections 8, 11, 14 and 16 of the Gold Control Act as it then existed, which was punishable under Sections 85, 86 and 87 of the aforesaid Act. A Writ Petition No. 9796 of 1986 was filed by me in this Honourable High Court for a direction to initiate action against Sathya Sai Baba for contravention of the Gold Control Act and this Honourable Court vide judgment dated 8.8.1986 dismissed the said Writ Petition, inter alia, on the ground that the act of materializing from the air in a split of a second by the use of spiritual powers or otherwise of an article or an ornament, cannot be said to have been made, manufactured, prepared or processed within the meaning of Section 11(1) of the Act, that as the article or ornament containing gold is materialized for the sole and specific purpose of giving it away as blessings to the devotees, the terms of Section 16 of the Act, therefore, have no application. Aggrieved by the aforesaid judgment, I preferred a Writ Appeal No. 1255 of 1986 in this Honourable High Court on the ground that spiritual power is no defense recognized in Law as one cannot prove or disprove its existence or non-existence. The petitioner had also asserted, inter alia, in the said Appeal that the act of the said Baba is also contrary to the Newton's Law of Conservation which postulates that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed but only its form can be changed through physical and chemical reactions. That it was also stated to this Honourable Court that if Sathya Sai Baba is entitled to the benefits of the defense of divine powers, then notorious smugglers could claim the same defense by merely making a statement that they had materialized gold by their divine powers and that they have no intention to sell the same as materialization cannot be proved. The said writ Appeal also came to be dismissed vide judgment dated 31.10.1986.
7. That the video coverage of the function inaugurating tile posh air-conditioned Kalyana Mandapam by our Prime Minister, exposed the sleight of hand trick of Sathya Sai Baba producing a gold necklace as if from air and presenting it to tile architect. The Door Darshan Director censored the portion exposing the trick and the unedited cassette was sealed by him. Nevertheless an un-authorized copy of the cassette got in the hands of a journalist and photographs taken from the cassettes were published in Deccan Chronicle on 24.11.1992, which showed Sathya Sai Baba stealthily receiving the gold chain from Radhakrishna, the personal aide of the God-man who is alleged to have been murdered by the four alleged assailants.
8. That the said Sathya Sai Baba has in the course of the latest few decades amassed a financial empire worth about Rs. 6,000/- Crores i.e., an amount far in excess of tile Securities Scam which has rocked the Parliament.
9. That it would not be out of context of mention that of late the said campus of Sathya Sai Baba has become notorious for tile death of foreign nationals more particularly women whose bodies according to the medical records bear visible marks of grievous torture. It is a well known fact that in the said abode of peace, dangerous explosive materials were found in abundance, which is a grave national threat going by the fact that the President, the Prime Minister and other important Dignitaries are regular visitors to the said place and as to how the security prescribed for the visit of such dignitaries which include scanning in advance of the places proposed to be visited has been ignored in such places is itself questionable. While on 8th June, 1993, the Union Home Minister, S.B. Chavan, the State Chief Minister K. Vijayabhaskara Reddy and the son-in-law and daughter of the President Dr. Shanar Dayal Sharma were to visit the Godman's ashram, the police had found two land mines in the ashram premises on Tuesday i.e., on 8.6.1993. This itself is shocking. That it is learnt that there is a major power struggle going on in the premises between the group that is related to the Baba and others comprising his trusted senior devotees.
10. The least said on the influence of Sai Baba, the better. The very fact that an air-strip was constructed by the Government of India so as to facilitate the visit of important dignitaries to his abode, contrary to the security requirements prescribed for the construction of such airstrip, is only a pointer to the enormous influence the said Baba wields on the Government irrespective of the political party in power.
11. That at the cost of the State Exchequer, National leaders are competing with each other to pay periodic visits to Sathya Sai Baba, making a mockery of Secularism which they preach from the podiums even before boarding their special aircrafts. That even the President of India, who administers the oath of office to even the Chief Justice of India, falls at the feet of such Godmen, and against the protocol sits on the side or below the seat of Sathya Sai Baba which only implies that the said Baba has assigned to himself the status of Head of the State like the Pope, which our Constitution in its wisdom does not permit.
12. That some of the salient features of the incident which have caused confusion in the minds of right thinking citizens are enumerated herein below:
13. (i) That as per the F.I.R. registered at the instance of the Station House Officer, Puttaparthi, and not by any inmate of the Ashram, it is stated that on Sunday the 6th of June 1993, an attempt was made on the life of Sai Baba. It is claimed that the four assailants namely (1) E.K. Suresh Kumar; (2) Jagannathan, (3) Suresh Shantaram Prabhu and (4) K. Sai Ram tried to enter Prashanti Nilayam around 10-30 p.m. to deliver what was purported to be a telegram to the Sai Baba from another godmanChandraswamy. It is on record of the post office that a telegram was delivered to Suresh Shantaram Prabhu addressed to Sai Baba. On being intercepted by the volunteers/aides namely Anil Patley, Vishnu Bhatt, Radhakrishna Menon and Sai Kumar Mahajan, a scuffle ensued which culminated in the assailants whipping out daggers and knives. That Sai Baba who was present there and on hearing the commotion, went to the lst floor to admonish the assailants and thereafter he moved to his bed room and bolted the door. That he swiftly moved out of his chamber through a secret passage to safety, after alerting the inmates by activating the siren. That it is pertinent to mention that the police arrived on the scene after receiving information and the said information which the police received at the first instance of the commission of a cognizable offence which is the F.I.R. has been suppressed and the same has been substituted by the second information emanating from the Station House Officer, and the same has been registered as F.1.R. The police by their illegal commission and omission left behind 6 casualties, who ultimately succumbed to the wounds inflicted on them.
13. (ii) That it is strange that the assailants were trying to gain entry to deliver the telegram to the said Sathya Sai Baba from godmanChandraswami when it is a well known fact that both have access to telephones, telex and fax facilities within their respective premises.
13. (iii) That it is further startling to note that the four assailants belonged to the inner core of the said Sri Sathya Sai Seval Dal and were amongst the most trusted lieutenants of the Baba, a fact which is corroborated by their relatives, who have testified that the question of their even casting a slur on the reputation of Sai Baba cannot be believed.
13. (iv) That when the police reached the spot the place was already teaming with inmates who had gathered in large numbers armed with sticks, bamboos an other things. The assailants are said to have panicked on seeing the policemen and climbed on the lst floor and locked themselves in the Sai Baba's chambers. The police in an attempt to nab the assailants are said to have tried to make a forceful entry into the room where the assailants had locked themselves in and it seems that the assailants attacked the police when the latter broke open the door, and in defense they shot all the four assailants with rifles. It is strange, that the police had to shoot all the assailants when they were well aware that the 1atter were armed with only knives and daggers and not pistols or other fire-arms. The police with a view to destroy the available evidence physically liquidated the assailants, an act punishable under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code. The police cannot claim plea of self-defense, when they have deliberately shot them down. They are responsible for man-slaughter till their innocence is established.
13. (v) That it is pertinent to mention that the bodies of the four personal aides of Sathya Sai Baba who have alleged to have been stabbed by the 4 assailants were removed to the super specialty hospital run by Sai Baba at Puttaparthi before the arrival of the police.
13. (vi) That further the police claim to have shot the assailants with guns whereas the reports declare that the wound maras left on the bodies of the deceased suggest that they were made by 303 rifle which has the power only to send the bullet right through the body, and that there has been nineteen bullet shots. That the news was leaked to the public only after 12 hours of the incident and even after the postmortem was conducted, the police showed an uncanny enthusiasm in depriving the relatives of the corpses, and the postmortem reports. That the postmortem reports of the two personal aides who died of stabs has not been given to the relatives and the press. Their bodies have not been taken to the Government Hospital for postmortem.
14. That there seems to be no clear motive for the murderous attempt. There are many contradictory stories circulating adding to the prevailing confusion. That the entire incident revolves around the sole purpose of a certain section to gain control over the Baba's vast illegal empire worth about Rs. 6,000/- crores. That it is possible that the assailants came to know of the murky happenings within the ashram or saw something which they ought not to have seen which according to the petitioner may have opened the eyes of the gullible public to the real personality of Sai Baba. The police in order to shield Sai Baba, have even gone to the extent of contradicting the allegations in the F.I.R by stating subsequently that the assault was not aimed at Sai Baba, but was a result of the internal squabbles concerning the prominent inmates.
15. That even the then State Home Minister who is one of the well known devotees of Sathya Sai Baba has instead of permitting an impartial investigation into the episode, has come out openly, as the official spokesman of Sathya Sai Baba and has not been found wanting in making certain self-serving statements in favour of Sathya Sai Baba, so as to ensure that Sathya Sai Baba is kept out of the controversy with a view to prevent erosion of the Baba's credibility.
16. That admittedly most of the top police officials involved in the investigation process are also the devotees of Sai Baba and therefore, it is futile to expect from them even a semblance of impartiality.
17. That it is not the first time, doubts have been expressed about the role of the local police. It is well known that most of them being the Baba's devotees have helped the Baba in hushing up controversies of strange/unaccounted-for-deaths and suicides involving foreign and Indian devotees.
13. The doctors of the local hospital are quoted to have said that many dead bodies of women brought from the Ashram to the hospital for post-mortem bore vivid marks of torture. That at least two murders, one of a Swedish lady and another of an Australian lady has taken place within the Ashram premises. It is also a fact that several boy students at the educational institutions run by the Baba have committed suicide after being sexually abused. In fact, Tal Brooke one of the Baba's closest American devotees, has revealed the seamy side of the Baba's empire when he denounces the latter as a "hermaphrodite & a sexual pervert" in his book 'Lord of the Air." No details are ever supplied about any of the deaths which occur in the ashram by either the inmates or the local police. That from the way in which the above mentioned incidents have been handled by the local police a bonafide investigation cannot be expected from them more in view of the fact that over the years they have gone out of their way to cover up the suspicious activities of the Baba.
19. It is apparent from the above mentioned facts and circumstances that the investigation process is either beyond the competency of the local police or that they are deliberately suppressing the facts which may be harmful to the image of the Baba. That due to the complexity and sensitivity of the issues involved and the persistent attempts being made by the Baba and his followers including the local police to avoid an impartial investigation, it is imperative, in public interest that the investigation be handed over to an impartial body like the Central Bureau of Investigation.
20. That it is high time the clandestine activities going on within the Ashram were revealed to the public. It is in the public interest to know the the picture behind the so-called pursuit for love and religion which the self-styled godmanpreachers. It is submitted by the petitioner that the entire investigation by the local police reeks of malafides and therefore, a proper investigation is called for by the Central Bureau of Investigation, interalia, on the following amongst other:-
a) Because considering the eminence of the victim sought to be assaulted by the assailants coupled with the fact that he has an incredible number of devotees who believe in his philosophy, it is necessary to ensure in the interest of justice that an impartial investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation is ordered more particularly because the original First Information Report has been suppressed by the State Police and substituted by the Report of a Police Inspector in the guise of an F.I.R. which is cogent evidence of the fact that the very foundation of the case as laid by the police rests on falsehood and, therefore, permitting the State Police to go ahead with the investigation would reduce the investigation process into one of mockery
b) Because the sole purpose of the police appears to keep Sai Baba out of the controversy, as is evident from the fact that though he was an eye witness to the incident and allegedly the prime target, and even his statements under Section 161 Cr. P.C. has not been recorded by the police and he has permitted the then State Home Minister to act as his official spokesman which would apparently convey to the police not to act in any manner contrary to the dictates of the then State Home Minister.
c) That even in cases involving the assassination of the late Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi, the police did not liquidate on the spot all the assailants but took immediate remedial measures to ensure their safety so as to unravel the conspiracy behind the assassination, despite the fact that the said assassins were armed with automatic weapons, and the police is guilty of applying different standards in the case of this episode.
d) Because even in the case involving the assassination of the late Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, when the Hideouts of some of the alleged prime accused were traced to their place in Bangalore, the police did not bombard their hide-out but took all remedial measures to enter the premises with caution so that they could be caught alive, though it proved otherwise since the alleged accused persons had consumed cyanide, something which was missing from the person of the alleged accused in the present case.
e) That the local police, inmates and politicians like the Union Home Minister and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh contrary to the rule of law are trying to prevent an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation, thereby ignoring their legal and Constitutional duty towards the public at large.
f) That the police, have in refusing to hand over the bodies of the assailants and their post-mortem reports to their respective families, have committed offences punishable under Section 201 I.P.C. which requires fair investigation.
g) That the police have always colluded with the Baba in suppressing the clandestine and illegal activities going on in the Ashram and there is no reason why the same won't be done again in order to save the Baba's purportedly holy image.
h) That an impartial investigation cannot be expected from the local police force when they are admittedly staunch devotees of the Baba.
i) Because the circumstances in which the Baba has amassed a financial empire worth Rs. 6,000/- crores which is even in excess of the Stock Scam required detailed investigation, more in view of the fact that National leaders and important executives unmindful of the source of Baba's income, have been making a bee-ine to his Ashram, primarily because of the power, emanating from his wealth, which the gullible public are forced to believe, are his divine powers.
j) Because it is time that the authorities comply with Article 51(h) of the Fundamental Duties of the Constitution which states that every citizen shall contribute to the building of scientific temper.
k) Because the said premises is virtually a threat to the security of the State as is evident from the reports that abundant quantities of RDX and other explosive material have been unearthed from the said premises, and further the said premises is frequented by even the President, the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and even other Heads of States of other countries, and the fact that both the State and the Central Security have not been able to unearth the same speaks volumes of the dubious and clandestine activities which have been going in the said premises under the garb of religion, love, peace and other fanciful nomenclatures.
21. At one stage, the Home Minister, Union of India, expressed his willingness to entrust the investigation to the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi (2nd respondent herein) which is not done so far. The Home Minister, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad stated that if necessary, the Sai Baba will be examined by the Police, which is also not done so far. When the whole incident occurred either in the bedroom or adjacent room of Sai Baba and in his presence, it is very essential to record his statement, more particularly when the first version came to the effect that an attempt was made on his life. The concerned police failed to act as per law I have also got a legal notice issued to the Union Home Minister on 23.6.1993 but no action was taken so far. When the State Government failed to act upon, it is imperative for the Central Government to start investigation.
22. I have not filed any Writ Petition or snit or any other proceedings against the same relief.
23. As I have no other alternative or efficacious remedy, I am filing this Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
24. Under the above circumstances I pray that this Honourable Court maybe pleased to direct:
i) Respondent No. 1 to order investigation into the incidents that have been happened at the residence of Sai Baba, otherwise known as Prashanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District, on 6.6.1993 at 10.30 p.m. whereat 6 persons are killed;
ii) Respondent No. 3 to hand over the investigation into the above incident to the 2nd respondent herein;
iii) Respondent No. 1 to inquire into how any ordinary citizen who does not have any manufacturing activities in his premises, has amassed an empire worth Rs. 6,000/- crores;
iv) Respondents Nos. 4 and 5 to order initiation of criminal proceedings against those police officials who claimed that they have killed four persons at Prashanthi Nilayam on 6.6.1993 at 10.30 p.m.
v) The respondents to investigate the cases of torture, assaults and murders which has been a pastime in the said premises and which has been suppressed by the local police i.e., Respondents 5 and 6 herein.
vi) The respondents to investigate into the happenings of deaths of the students and staff which are filed off as suicides, and the requisition of the students as a watch and ward and body guards of Sathya Sai Baba while studying in his educational institutions;
vii) And costs be awarded in favour of the petitioner and against the respondents; and pass such on the order or orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.
25. It is further prayed that this Honourable Court may be pleased to direct the Respondent No. 5 herein to identify the police personnel who participated in the killings of 4 inmates of Sai Baba at Prashanthi Nilayam on 6.6.1993 at 10.30 p.m. and place them under suspension pending disposal of this Writ Petition and pass such other order or orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.
26. It is also further prayed that this Honourable Court may be pleased to stay all further proceedings in respect of the investigation with regard to the incidents that occurred at the residence of Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District, on 6th June, 1993 at 10.30 p.m. whereat 6 persons are killed, pending disposal of the Writ Petition and pass such other order or orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.
Solemnly affirmed and signed his name in my presence at Hyderabad, on this 27th day of September, 1993.
Sd. B. Premanand
(SPECIAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE
ANDHRA PRADESH AT HYD.
W.P. No. 14454 of 1993
B. Premanand, Son of K.B. Prabhu, aged 63 years, Resident of Mettur Bungalow, Podanur, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu State - 641 023. Petitioner
1. Union of India represented by its Secretary for Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi.
2. Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, C.G.D. Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi.
3. State of Andhra Pradesh reptd., by its Home Secretary, Secretariat Buildings, Hyderabad.
4. Director-General of Police, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Saifabad, Hyderabad.
5. Superintendent of Police, Ananthapur.
6. Circle Inspector of Police, Puttaparthi,
Ananthapur District. Respondents
WRIT PETITION FILED UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF
THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
1. The address of the petitioner for service of all notices is that of his counsel Mrs. K.N. Balgopal, B. Tharakam and D. Vijay Kumar, Advocates, H. No. 1-10-24, Ashoknagar, Hyderabad.
2. For the reasons stated in the accompanying affidavit the petitioner herein prays that this Hon'ble Court maybe pleased to direct:
i) Respondents No.1 to order investigation into the incidents that have been happened at the residence of Sai Baba, otherwise known as Prashanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District, on 6.6.1993 at 10-30 p.m. where at 6 persons are killed;
ii) Respondent No. 3 to hand over the investigation into the above incident to the 2 respondent herein;
iii) Respondent No. 1 to inquire into how an ordinary citizens who does not have any manufacturing activities in his premises, has amassed an empire worth Rs. 6,000/-crores;
iv) Respondents - 4 and 5 to order initiation of criminal proceedings against those police officials who claimed that they have killed four persons at Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District on 6th June, 1993 at 10.30 p.m.
v) The respondents to investigate the ceases of torture, and murders which has been a pastime in the said premises and which has been suppressed by the local police i.e., Respondents 5 and 6 herein.
vi) The respondents to investigate into the happenings of deaths of the students and staff which are filed off as suicides, and the requisition of the students as a watch and ward and bodyguards of Sathya Sai Baba while studying in his educational institutions;
vii) And Costs be awarded in favour of the petitioner and against the respondents; and pass such other order or orders as the Honourable Court way deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.
D. Vijay Kumar
Counsel for petitioner.
MEMORANDUM OF WRIT PETITION
(Under Section 151 of C.P.C.)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE
ANDHRA PRADESH AT HYD.
W.P. M.P. No: 18370 of 1993
W.P. No.14454 of 1993
Premanand, son of K.B. Prabhu, aged 63 years, Resident of Mettur Bungalow, Podanur, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu State. - 641 023.
Superintendent of Police, Ananthapur.
(OTHER RESPONDENTS ARE NOT NECESSARY PARTIES)
For the reasons stated in the affidavit filed in support of the Writ Petition the petitioner herein prays that this Honourable Court maybe pleased to direct the respondent herein (Respondent No. 5 in the Writ Petition) to identify the police personnel who participated in the killings of inmates of Sai Baba at Prashanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur Dist. on 6th June, 1993 at 10.30 p.m. and place them under suspension pending disposal of this Writ Petition and pass such other order or orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.
Sd. D. Vijay Kumar
Counsel for the Petitioner
The law doth punish men or woman
That steals the goose from off the common.
But lets the greater felon loose,
That steals the common from the goose.
Anon (in 1764).
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.
The execution of the laws is more important than the making of them.
MEMORANDUM OF WRIT PETITION MISC. PETITION
Under Section 151 C.PC.)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE
ANDHRA PRADESH AT HYD.
W.P. M.P. No.18371 of 1993
W.P. No. 14454 of 1993
B. Premanand, son of K. B. Prabhu, aged 63 years, Resident of Mettur Bungalow, Podanur, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu State - 641 023.
1. Union of India represented by its Secretary For Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi.
2. Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, C.G.D. Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi.
3. State of Andhra Pradesh reptd., by its HomeSecretary, Secretariat Buildings, Hyderabad.
4. Director-General of Police, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Saifabad, Hyderabad.
5. Superintendent of Police Ananthapur.
6. Circle Inspector of Police, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District.
For the reasons stated in the affidavit filed in support of the Writ Petition, the petitioner herein prays that this Honourable Court may be pleased to stay all further proceedings in respect of the investigation being conducted by R 3 to R 6 with regard to the incidents that occurred at the residence of Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District, on 6th June, 1993 at 10.30 p.m. whereat 6 persons are killed, pending disposal of this Writ Petition and pass such other order or orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit and proper.
Sd. D. Vijay Kumar, counsel for Petitioner.
Everywhere there is one principle of justice,
which is the interest of the stronger
No man is above law and no man is below it, nor do we ask any man's is below
it, nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it.
INDIAN SKEPTIC, Vol. 6, No. 7, November 1993.
Follow-up: Writ Petition about 6 Murders in Sai Baba's bedroom:
After I returned from Hyderabad, I found Intelligence officers around Podanur inquiring about my credentials from the neighbors and also meeting my son on 24-10-1993 whether he knows one Anand Babu staying in Kettur Bungalow etc., who had filed a writ petition against the murders at Puttaparthi. He replied he does not know. Later in the afternoon, they gave my name and I met them. They wanted to know what all records I have on the murder and where I keep them. The police being respondents in the writ petition, I requested them to give me in writing what they want so that I could reply them after consulting my advocate. The officers met me twice on 24th and 25th October 1993.
I reached Hyderabad well in advance on 2nd November. The government pleaders wanted 15 days time to file the counter and for argument. They were asked to phone to K.N. Balgopal at New Delhi which they did and he agreed for the postponement. The petition is posted to 29.11.1993. What happens there will be in December 1993 issue.
INDIAN SKEPTIC, Vol. 6, No. 8, December 1993.
Writ Petition against the 6 murders and other murky happenings in Sai Baba's"Abode of Peace", has been posed to 20.12.1993 for argument and orders. It is surprising that the State and Central Government has not filed their counter even though they took time twice. Even the Union Home Minister S.B. Chavan had declined to comment on the fact that the state police had not achieved any breakthrough and the Cr. 25/93 filed at Penukonda magistrate's Court looks like being closed. He replied to Hindu Correspondent that he would talk to the State Government and find out the position!
INDIAN SKEPTIC, Vol. 6, No. 10, February 1994.
Writ Petition for Impartial Enquiry into Murders in Sai Baba's
I had to apply for postponement of the writ petition which came up for hearing on 20.12.1993 as Mr. Balgopal's father-in-law died. The Hyderabad advocate made a mistake by getting the petition posted to 28.12.1993. So again we had to request the court for postponement and it was posted to 18.1.1994. Though Mr. Balgopal reached Hyderabad on 17.1.1994, the petition was not found on the list and so the Registrar of the High Court was contacted to get it listed on 19.1.1994. To our surprise, it was not listed for l9th and so he returned back to Delhi as he had other engagements next day. As no date was announced we have been waiting to know the date on which the writ petition would come for hearing. Due to telephone problem we could contact the Hyderabad advocate only on 7.2.1994 and were informed that the petition is posted to 11.2.1994. As there was no time to inform Balgopal so that he could come to Hyderabad on 10th to attend the court on 11th, we have sent a telegram to Mr. Tarakam to get adjournment and posted to 18.2.1994. We are waiting for the confirmation from Hyderabad.
INDIAN SKEPTIC, Vol. 6, No. 11, March 1994.
Writ Petition for an impartial enquiry into murders at Sai Baba's bedroom on 6-6-1993 again adjourned from 18.2.1994 to 23-2-1994 and then to 1.3.1994.
FOLLOW UP WRIT PETITION FOR IMPARTIAL
ENQUIRY INTO MURDERS IN SAI BABA'S BEDROOM
In reply to our telegram, we were informed that the Writ petition was posted to 18.2.1994 finally and that there would be no further adjournment.
Mr. K. N. Balgopal, our counsel from Delhi arrived on 17th itself and we were in court No. 23 and waited till 16.14 p.m. The Hon. Judge Jus. Ramakshaam Raju was engaged in a bench. He adjourned all the petitions for future days and agreed to hear our counsel.
K. N. Balgopal, the counsel for the petitioner quoted lots of judgments from High Courts and Supreme Court which clearly discussed the powers of the courts for ordering CBI enquiry when the State and Central Government fails to uphold the law of the country.
He also went through the legal aspects as to why CBI enquiry was needed in this particular case when the police who filed the FIR and investigated the case later turned out to be accused in the case for murdering the four alleged accused in cold blood and when all those officers investigating the case were devotees or inner circle members of Sathya Sai Baba. As a person cannot be a judge in his own cause it was necessary that the investigation, should be taken up by a neutral agency CBI.
The Hon. Judge came with the question as to what the police can do if the witnesses do not come forward in the case. In this instance, Mr. K. N. Balgopal quoted from the book "THE DUE PROCESS OF LAW" by Lord Denning and read out the conspicuous parts from Chapter 2 "The Victimisation of Witnesses."
"Every court has to depend on witnesses. It is vital to the administration of justice that they should give their evidence freely and without fear. Yet everyone knows that witnesses maybe suborned to commit perjury - they may be threatened with due consequences if they tell the truth - they may be punished after wards for telling the truth.
There can be no greater contempt than to intimidate a witness.
Witnesses would be unwilling to come forward to give evidence, or, if they did
come forward, they would hesitate to speak the truth, for fear of
Lord Langdale's letter to Thomson:
"If witnesses are in this way deterred from coming forward in aid of legal proceedings, it would be impossible that justice can be administered. It would be better that the door of the courts of Justice were at once closed"
"Do not fear, the arm of the law is strong enough to protect you."
It is the duty of the court to protect the witnesses by every means at its command. Else the process of law will be set at naught.
It was now 16.45 p.m. and the court adjourned the argument to 23.2.1994.
We had to spend again to get Balgopal on 23th February to complete the arguments. Later the Counsel for Union of India replied to the petitioner's argument. The Advocate General, The State Government counsel was missing and was alleged to be on tour. If he was to be out of station on that day, it was the duty of the State Government to plead for a date suitable for him so that the petitioner is not made bankrupt and when the sitting judge had ordered that no further adjournment would be given. The Hon. Judge adjourned the case to 1.3.1994 for the Advocate General to reply to our arguments. Let us wait and see what would happen on that day. The argument of K. N. Balgopal on behalf of us will be published in the April 1994 issue.
Writ Petition Dismissed
The CWP No. 1445/93 was dismissed on 15.3.1994. I was not allowed to see the judgment without my advocate sitting near me nor the certified copy given till 21th evening. So I am publishing the newspaper reports.
Along with my Writ petition I had submitted 186 pages of Newspaper clippings as annexure. At the time of argument Mr. K. N. Balgopal had filed a copy of the judgment in 1993(4) Scale. What I would request you is to compare the reasons given by the Hon. Justice in newspapers in dismissing the petition with the Supreme Court orders in 1993(4) Scale and find out for yourself if the dismissal is justifiable. If only the Hon. Justice Mr. Ramakrishnam Raju had the courage to take action like the Supreme Court, all my statements in my affidavit would have been proved to be true. Instead he has found fault with me for not producing the records in the hands of Doordarshan, Police, Government Civil Hospitals etc., and the 2 rolls of films and the video film shot of the place of murder on 6.6.1993, very well knowing that I have no powers to do so.
On 15th March in the evening while giving a lecture on this writ petition at the Post Graduate Evening Law College the students asked me: "Sir, are you not upset by the judgment?" I replied that though I had done my duty as citizen of India to bring the facts before the Hon. High Court, it is the Court which has to get upset. Before occupying the seat of Justice, every judge has to affirm that he will protect our Constitution and the laws of the country and prove to the people that there are none above the Laws of the Country however influential they may be and see that our Law is Supreme.
I have to wait until I get the certified copy of the judgment to make up my mind to go for appeal or to the Supreme Court direct. I need your full support, encouragement and moral backing in this search for justice.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA RECORDS
NEWS ITEM FROM "THE TRIBUNE" OF 1th November, 1993
CORAM: KULDIP SINGH AND S.C. AGRAWAL, JJ.
CONSTITUTION - Court takes suo moto action on a Newspaper report from Punjab - Court also issued further directions.
UPON perusing the newspaper the Court made the following ORDER:
1. We take notice of the news item appearing in today's "THE TRIBUNE" as above news item. The news item is under the heading "killed once, twice". The news item is based on the complaint by a well reputed CPI leader Mr. Sat Pal Dang. According to the news itemValtoha Police brought two 'bodies' to the mortuary of the Civil Hospital, Patti at 6.30 a.m. yesterday for post-mortem. The Doctor on duty found that one of them was still alive and shifted him to the ward. The allegedly dead man regained consciousness and gave his name as Sarabjit Singli, Son of Mr. Harbhajan Singh of Valtoha. The Doctor sent a message at the residence of the person so that the family members be informed that the person is alive. Meanwhile Mr. Sita Ram, the Station House Officer of Valtoha reached the Hospital along with certain police men and 'forcibly' took away Mr. Sarabjit Singh. It is further in the news item that the body was brought back by the Police after two or three hours and the same was subjected to post-mortem examination and the two bodies were cremated at Patti by Police.
News item from 'the Tribune' of 1st November, 1993.
2. If the allegations in the news item are correct then it is the most heinous offence against the penal laws of the country as well as humanity.
3. We issue notice to the State of Punjab through home Secretary, Mr. Sita Ram, Station House Officer, Valtolia and Mr. Sat Pal Dan, CPI leader, Tarn Taran, we direct Mr. Sita Ram, Station House Officer to be present in Court on 5th November, 1993 along with Police Station record. The Home Secretary, State of Punjab shall ensure the presence of Station House Officer in the Court.
4. The Registry shall send a copy of the order to the District and Sessions Judge, Amritsar by Telex/Telegram/Telephone or by any other method by 1.00 p.m. today. The District Judge shall depute the Chief Judicial Magistrate or a responsible Officer to visit Patti and Valtoha today itself and seize the police record, the Hospital Record and also record statement of the person concerned at his discretion and complete the other formalities before 1.00 p.m. dated November 2, 1993. All the papers along with CJM/Officer's report be sent to the Court before November 5, 1993.
5. Mr. Mukull Mudgal, advocate, is present in the Court. We request the Legal Aid Society of the Supreme Court to take notice of this order and render necessary assistance in the Court.
NEWS ITEM FROM "THE TRIBUNE"
OF 1ST NOVEMBER 1993
CORAM: KULDIP SINGH AND S.C. AGRAWAL, JJ.
CONSTITUTION - Court had earlier taken suo moto action on a newspaper report from Punjab (1993(4) scale 299) - Court now issues certain directions to C.B.I.
1. On November 1, 1993, this Court passed the following Order:
We take notice of the News item appearing in today's "The Tribune" as a box-news item. The news item is under the heading "killed once, twice". The news item is based on the complaint by a well reputed CPI leader Mr. Sat Pal Dang. According to the news item Valtoha Police brought two "bodies" to the mortuary of the Civil Hospital, Patti at 6.30 p.m. yesterday for post-mortem. The Doctor on duty found that one of them was still alive and shifted him to the ward. The allegedly dead man regained consciousness and gave his name as Sarabjit Singh, Son of Mr. Harbhajan Singh of Valtoha. The Doctor sent a message at the residence of the person so that the family members be informed that the person is alive. Meanwhile Mr. Sita Ram, the Station House Officer of Miltoha reached the Hospital along with certain Police men and "forcibly" took Mr. Sarabjit Singh. It is further in the news item that the body was brought back by the police after two or three hours and the same was subjected to post-mortem examination and the two bodies were cremated at Patti by Police.
2. If the allegations in the news item are correct then it is the most heinous offence against the penal laws of the country as well as humanity.
3. We issue notice to the State of Punjab through Home Secretary, Mr. Sita Pam, Station House Officer, Valtoha and Mr. Sat Pal Dang, CPI Leader, Tarn Taran. We direct Mr. Sita Pam, Station House Officer to be present in Court on 5th November, 1993 along with Police record. The Home Secretary, State of Punjab shall ensure the presence of Station House Officer in this Court.
4. The Registry shall send a copy of this order to the District and Sessions Judge, Amritsar by Telex/Telegram/Telephone or by any other method by 1.00 p.m. today. The District Judge shall depute the Chief Judicial Magistrate or a responsible Officer to visit Patti and Valtoha today itself and seize the Police record, the Hospital Record and also record statements of the persons concerned at his discretion and complete the other formalities before 1.00 p.m. dated November 2, 1993. All the papers along with CJM Officer's report be sent to this Court before November 5, 1993.
5. Mr. Mukul Mudgal, advocate, is present in the Court. We request the Legal Aid Society of the Supreme Court to take notice of this order and render necessary assistance in this Court.
6. Pursuant to our above quoted order District Judge, Amritsar has sent his report.
7. Mr. Sita Ram, Station House Officer, Valtoha now transferred to Ropar is present before us. In reply to a question put by us Mr. Sita Ram states that the encounter took place in the area of village Ram Singh Wala, Tehsil Patti. He further states that from the place of occurrence he sent the two bodies along with two Constables namely Kamal Jeet Singh and Rakesh Kumar to Patti Hospital for post-mortem.
8. He further states that he remained at the spot for investigation. The Civil Hospital, Patti is about 10/11 kms from the place of occurrence. Mr. Sita Ram further states that while he was still investigating at the place of occurrence, Mr. Rakesh Kumar Constable came back to the place of occurrence and told him that one of the allegedly dead persons was found alive by the Doctor in the Hospital. The Constable had come back by a two wheeler. Having been informed by the Constable, Sita Ram immediately went in his official vehicle (Canter) to the Civil Hospital. Thereafter, on reaching the Hospital, doctor handed over the man who was found alive to him for the purposes of taking him to the Civil Hospital, Amritsar.
9. On further questioning Mr. Sita Ram stated that no entry of the fact, that he took the person from Patti to the Hospital at Amritsar and he died on the way and there after he brought him back for post-mortem, has been made anywhere in theRoznamacha. He further states that the only record made was the recording of the statement of Mr. Bikramjeet Singh and his own endorsement thereunder.
10. We place on record our appreciation for the District and Sessions Judge, Amritsar and the Chief Judicial Magistrate who have taken prompt action in executing our orders. The C.J.M. recorded the statements of Anokh Singh, Subinspector, Officiating SHO. Police Station Valtoha, Dr. Jaswant Singh, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Patti, Dr. Kashmir Singh another Medical Officer of the said Hospital, Bikramjit Singh, Pharmacist of the said Hospital, Sunita Kumari, Staff Nurse of that Hospital, S.I. Sita Ram, Ex-SHO PS Valtoha and Surinder Pal Singh, Advocate, Civil Court Patti. He has also forwarded the following documents:
1) Original DDR register of PS, Valtoha containing entries from 5.10.93 to 1.11.93 produced by S.I. Anokh Singh.
2) Original FIR register of PS Valtoha containing inter alia FIR No. 6l/93, produced by S.I. Anokh Singh.
3) Judicial file of FIR No. 61/93 containing pages 1 to 29 Mark 'A' produced by S.I. Anokh Singh.
4) Original case diaries of FIR No. 61/93 containing pages 1 to 13, Mark 'B' produced by S.I. Anokh Singh.
5) Original bed-head ticket Ex-EW 4/1 and Emergency slip Ex.EW 4/2 produced by Dr. Jaswant Singh, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Patti.
6) Original post-mortem reports Exs. EW 6/1 and EW 6/2 produced by Dr. Kashmir Singh, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Patti.
7) Attested copy of the FIR No. 61/93 supplied by MHC Baljinder Singh of PS Valtoha.
8) Issue of the Tribune dated 1.11.93 Ex.E1 and News item Ex.El/1 proved by witness Mahabir Sigh.
(Note from editor: No. 9, 10 and 11 are not present.)
11) It is obvious from the material sent by the learned District Judge that one of the persons brought as dead to the Civil Hospital, Patti was in fact found to be living by the Doctor. Thereafter there are two versions by the Police and the other by the complainant. It is not necessary for us to further delve into these versions because we feel that the matter needs further investigation by an independent and efficient investigating agency.
12. We, therefore, direct the Director, C.B.I., New Delhi to register a case against the police officers/officials who allegedly took the living person from Civil Hospital, Patti and brought his dead body back to the hospital. The case be registered immediately. The Director, C.B.I. shall further depute a responsible officer to investigate the matter. We further direct the S.H.O., Mr. Sita Ram to report to the Director, CBI tomorrow at 11.00 a.m. for further directions at his level. We direct the Home Secretary, Govt. of Punjab to place Mr. Sita Ram under suspension with immediate effect. Needless to say that CBI shall conduct the investigation in accordance with law including the provisions of Criminal procedure Code and exercise all the powers available to it under law. The records be sent to the C.B.I., by the Registry by 11.00 p.m. tomorrow along with copy of this order.
13. We direct the Director, CBI to send a progress report to this Court after six weeks. The Registry to communicate this order to the Director CBI before 7.00 p.m., today by telephone/fax/telex or any other appropriate method.
14. To come up on 3.1.94..
(Order dated November 5, 1993 in No. 1608/93 News Item from "The Tribune" of 1st November, 1993 Re: "The Tribune")
NEWS ITEM FROM "THE TRIBUNE" OF 1.11.93
TITLE "KILLED ONCE, TWICE"
CORAM: KULDIP SINGH AND YOGESHWAR DAYAL, JJ.
CONSTITUTION - Court had earlier taken suo moto action on a newspaper report from Punjab (1993(4) Scale 299 & 652 Court now issues, certain directions.
The Central Bureau of Investigation along with a letter of Mr. M.L. Sharma has filed the progress report in this case. The Registry to keep the original as well as the photocopies of the progress report in a sealed cover. Mr. Shatna appearing on behalf of the C.B.I. states that it will take another 6 weeks to complete the investigation in this case. We adjourn the case to 7.3.1994 to enable the C.B.I. to file final progress report in this case.
Order dated January 3, 1994 in WP.(Crl) No. 1608 of 93 (For prel. hearing).
Argument By Petitioner on 28.9.1993
The above matter came up for hearing in the Hon'ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad on 28.9.1993 before the Hon'ble Justice Reddappa Reddy when the advocate for the petitioner Mr. K.N. Balgopal appeared. The Hon'ble High Court was pleased to issue notice to the Respondents returnable on 4.11.1993
The Petitioner has challenged, inter alia, the dubious and murky investigation presently being conducted by the Andhra Pradesh State Police into the incident of 6.6.1993 at Prashanti Nilayam, the abode of Sathya Sai Baba when certain alleged assailants made an attempt on the life of Sathya Sai Baba, resulting ultimately in the loss of 6 lives by police firing;
i) The FIR has been lodged by the Circle Inspector of Police though he admits in the FIR that he got the First Information from the people on the road and then from the Ashram people. The actual informant along with his information has been suppressed and the same has been substituted by a false information by the inspector in the guise of the FIR.
ii). Though 16 weeks have lapsed since the episode, the police are yet to record the statement of Sai Baba under 161 Cr. P.C. According to press version a telegram was dispatched by Chandraswami to Sai Baba and the assailants entered the premises that night with the telegram. The statements of neither of the Godmen have been recorded.
iii) When a demand was raised by the public spirited citizens that Sai Baba's statement should be recorded Sai Baba issued a press statement saying that it was not an attempt on his life thereby contradicting the version given by the Police Inspector in the FIR. Be it so, then what was the need for the Police to kill the alleged assailants who were armed only with sticks and knives as stated by the ashram and police.
The police have destroyed available evidence by killing the assailants which was not done even with the assailants of Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
Sathya Sai Baba, m order to scuttle the investigation, has made a statement that in the interest of peace and tranquility, he does not want further investigation and the Home Minister is acting as the official spokesman of Sathya Sai Baba.
Even when Mahatma Gandhi was shot, he pleaded for mercy on the assailants. But the law toolkits own course and the guilty were punished.
They have even gone to the extent of saying that it is purely an internal matter of the Ashram as though the laws of the country do not apply in Sai Baba's Ashram.
An investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation is imperative, more in view of the fact that the Police showed an uncanny enthusiasm in cremating some of the bodies of the deceased before even the arrival of their relatives and even post-mortem reports have not been furnished to the concerned relatives till date.
Sathya Sai Baba, who has a large following more among the elite has amassed a financial empire worth of about Rs. six thousand crores i.e., even more than the stock scam. The genesis of such huge wealth need to be investigated.
Of late, there have been certain unnatural deaths involving foreign women in the premises and police have suppressed these facts
Tall Brooke in his book "Lord of the Air' has denounced Sathya Sai Baba as a hermaphrodite and a sexual pervert.
Argument for Petitioner on 23.2.1994
The Writ Petition came for argument and orders today before the Hon. Justice Ramakrishnam Raju in Court No.23. The counsel for the petitioner Mr. KN. Balgopal was requested to continue his argument from what he did on 18.2.1994. Even though the Hon. Justice had ordered that under any circumstances no further adjournment would be given, the respondents took time to reply to the argument by the petitioner and the petition was posted to 1.3.1994.
The Counsel for the Union of India submitted to the Hon. Court that CBI investigation will be very expensive and they are under the Home Minister, so it would make no difference. To this, the petitioner counsel submitted that the life and liberty of a citizen cannot be denied on the ground that the state has no funds and even though the CBI may be under the Home Minister, the Home Minister is not above the Law and so the Hon. Court should see that law is enforced.
Argument by Shri K.N. Balgopal on 23.2.1994 before the Hon.
Justice Ramakrishnam Raju, Court No. 23:
As requested by Hon. Justice Ramakrishnam Raju, K.N. Balgopal, our counsel continued his argument going into the facts of the case.
According to the police version in the First Information Report and the press release, the Circle Inspector of Police learnt that some people had attacked Swamiji Mandir to kill Baba from the cries on the road and people rushing towards Prashanthinilayam at 10.30 p.m. on 6.6.1993.
So, along with IS's of Puttaparthi, Kottacheruvu and Bukkapatnam PS's and staff present with him, he rushed to Baba Mandir where he learnt that a group of people went to Mandir and four assailants namely S.K. Suresh Kumar, Jagannatham, K. Sai Ram and Suresh Shantharam Prabhu alias Prabhu entered into Baba's private room on the pretext of handing over a telegram. In the press statement the police had said that it was from another godmanChandraswami.
When Sathya Sai Baba and Chandraswami have fax, telex and telephone facilities, the police did not check up as to who really sent the telegram. They also have not so far interrogated the ashram members who had given this information to them or given their name. (Annexure 99).
Page 99: In any case it is odd that Chandraswami should have chosen to send a telegram when both godmen have modern communication facilities by STD and FAX.
According to FIR and press release by the police, the reason for opening fire was when one of the doorplank was broken open to enter into the said room in which the assailants had rushed and bolted from inside when they saw the police. The assailants armed with daggers suddenly opened the doors, pounced on the police attacked and caused injuries to HC 1129, PC's 344 and 1302 with a view to kill them. As police could not over power them, in self-defense CI of Puttaparthi HC 1129, PC's 844, 1302 and PC 581 opened fire killing all the assailants.
During the time of inquest all the bodies were found in the bedroom of Sathya Sai Baba in four corners while the floor was conspicuous by any trace of blood, while a pool of blood was found in another adjoining room where they were actually killed.
(Pages for photos 131, 146, 147, 148, 170, 176, 177).
Admittedly the police did not suffer from even minor injuries let alone major injuries. (Annexure)
IIAccording to our law, the right of self defense is not a right to take revenge, nor it is a right of reprisal.
Article 21 of our Constitution says that no person shall be deprived of his life and liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
On page 20 and 6 of the annexure the Additional Superintendent of Police, Subbanna said: "We shoot to kill. The days of shooting below the belt to capture the attackers are over.'
Whether Radhakrishna and Sai Kumar Mahajan were killed by the alleged four assailants or the police is not clear, because in the opinion of the doctor for the reason of death is silent. Why? In the case of remaining 4 assailants they have specifically mentioned their death is due to fire arms. Nothing prevented the doctor from writing in the case of Radhakrishna and Mahajan that their death was caused by knife injury. Silence as far as the weapon used is concerned creates a serious doubt.
According to the prosecution Sathya Sai Baba was present on the spot. Union Home Minister has confirmed the same on page 57 of the annexure.
Page 57: S.B. Chavan: "As far as my knowledge goes, Baba opened the door, when he came to know about some commotion on the ground floor of his personal chambers, scolded the persons responsible for it and subsequently he went into his room and bolted it from behind."
In annexure 144 Sathya Sai Baba is supposed to have shouted "FOOLS GET OUT', but he has not been examined under section 161 Cr. P.C. by the investigating police till date when he is a material eye witness.
Reason given for non-examination of Sathya Sai Baba are the statement of Indulal Shah the chief functionary of Sri Sathya Sai World Trust: "The matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it."
Page 83: the incident was purely in internal matter of Prashanthi Nilayam and was no need for CBI investigation.
Page 88: In conversation with the Home Minister the Baba urged Mr. Cha van not to press the investigations if the peace and tranquility of the ashram was threatened. "I don't want any devotee to go back with unsavoury experiences during his visit to Prashanti Nilayam where he comes for peace" he said.
It was at Sathya Sai Baba's behest the police and CBI enquiry was shelved. On 30.1.1948 when the father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, he had pleaded that the assassin should not be punished keeping in mind his supreme and sacrosanct ideal of Ahimsa. Yet the law took its own course and the guilty has sentenced.
Even when the late Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were assassinated, the assassins were not automatically liquidated. In the first case, the police officials at the risk of their own life over-powered the assassins who were armed with automatic weapons and there-after, the law took its own course.
According to our Union Home Minister, is Sathya Sai Baba superior to the father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi? In the case of Mahatma Gandhi and the two Prime Ministers, they were all assassinated, while in the case of Sathya Sai Baba, he himself stated that the attempt was not on him, and he is living. So, did it necessitate the police to liquidate the alleged assassins?
Because of the repeated visits of the Union Home Minister to Sathya Sai Baba, who has assumed the role of the official spokesman of Sathya Sai Baba, the investigation has not made any headway.
Potassium Cyanide of German origin land mines and RDX were found inthe premises. (Annexure 15, 26 at~d 108).
Page 15: According to highly placed sources, a bottle containing 500 grams of potassium cyanide was found a few yards near Baba's chamber. Police also recovered three pairs of gloves and a small container with potassium cyanide in a lady's bag. The cyanide bottles is believed to be marked "Made in Germany".
Page 26: A search of the premises of the vocational training center inside the Prashanti Nilayam complex revealed two land mines and a cast-iron shell without the explosive material.
Page 108: The police claimed that they had discovered three live land mines weighing over 50 kilo grams each in a part of the Puttaparthi complex.
Women died of rape, many unidentified dead bodies particularly of women, were brought to the Government Civil Hospital from Prashanti-Nilayam mainly of rape. (Annexures 40,48, 143).
Page 40: The police officials hint discretely that there is more to the assassination bid than the power struggle theory that is doing the rounds. They talk of "murky happenings" in the ashram over the last few years. In this context, the revelation made by a doctor of the nearby Government Civil Hospital is staring. The doctor said a number of unidentified dead bodies, particularly those of women, were brought to the hospital from Prashanti Nilayam by the police in the past. Post Mortems on the bodies mostly revealed death due to suspicious circumstances and signs of rape, he said.
Page 48: An Australian lady, who was also a member of the trust (belonging to the faction of the ousted secretary of the trust) was murdered in her room in Prashanti Nilayam several months ago but the entire incident was hushed up.
Page 143: Accusing the trust members of misusing funds and indulging in illegal activities, the two suspects have alleged that son-in-law of a trust member owns a hotel in Puttaparthi which has become a center of such activities and Sathya Sai Baba himself has advised some of his devotees not to stay in that hotel.
They have also alleged that some trust members were using local thugs to murder foreign devotees and burn the face of the deads beyond recognition. A foreigner was raped at the ashram by a trust member, but the police hushed up the case, they contended.
The impression of the investigators is that the inmates of the ashram are not happy about the probe and there was lack of cooperation from Sathya Sai himself and other officials of the ashram. (Annexure 59, 99, 119, 123, 152, 172, 174)
Page 59: Later Mr. Indulal Shah, who is also closely associated with Dharmakshetra, is more categorical: "We have been asked not to deal with the press." He has just returned from Puttaparthi (Parthi to insiders): the law of silence seems to be part of the mandate he has brought back.
Page 99: Officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who are conducting an inquiry into the episode (despite Chavan's denial) are believed to be highly suspicious of the role of the Puttaparthi Police.
Police Commissioner himself is a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba.
Page 119: But he (Sathya Sai Baba) told Police Commissioner of Hyderabad, H.J. Dora, a devotee of his, that it was a case of eershadvesham (Telugu for act done out of jealousy)
Page 123: Others are skeptical about the outcome of the entire exercise as the feel that the very premises from which they have started their investigation is wrong.
They feel that at present the investigation is based on the contents of the First Information Report and the contents of it are not stated to be correct. If the investigation continues on the same lines, they fear, either the investigation will not lead them anywhere or help only in covering up the conspiracy hatched to do away with Sai Baba.
A section of the middle level investigating officer also opined that the four slam alleged assailants and the two absconding were not the real culprits but someone else. In order to cover up their crime they might have framed up the innocent boys they opined.
Page 162: The police officials, are hesitating to further question Sai Baba in view of Baba's connections with top most people in the country. The crime branch officials are not in a position to inquire Sai Baba about the incidents and further probe the incident The police job has now become more difficult with Sathya Sai Baba's clean chit to the assailants.
Page 172: Despite sincere efforts of the investigating officials in unraveling the truth, the department has received a set-back, allegedly, due to non-cooperation of the colleagues at various levels.
The top brass of the CD feel that they were undermined by the personnel of the police and revenue departments particularly at the local level, by providing them with false information besides fabricating the FIR and inquest report. Apparently in collusion with the Sathya Sai Trust members.
It is reliably learnt that the inquest conducted by the Mandal Revenue Officer of Mr. Dhanray, who retired recently indulged in several malpractices like not recording the versions of most of the relatives of the dead and other eyewitnesses.
Also, the time at which firing took place in Prashanti Mandir was wrongly mentioned as 3 a.m. in the report.
Page 174: The snail's pace at which the investigation into the ghastly episode is progressing has more or less confirmed the general feeling among the public that some powerful forces with sinister motives are at work.
News of the incident revealed to the public only after 12 hours. (Annexure 72).
Page 72: Adding to the suspicion surrounding the police action is the fact that while the incident occurred at 10.30 p.m. on Sunday, no word was given to the world outside till almost twelve hours later.
Police destroyed the bodies and did not co-operate with their relatives. (Annexure 70, 98).
Page 98: The mystery of Jagannatha's death deepened further on Tuesday when the Puttaparthi police buried his bullet-ridden body without even intimating his family, who came to know of it the next morning. Ratnamma, her son, Kothandaram, a photographer, and Nandini, an officer at the Chickpet branch of Canara Bank, had gone to the Bangalore police commissionerate to confirm that the Jagannatha mentioned in the papers was indeed her son. She got a letter from assistant commissioner of police, A. Veerabhadriah, to his counterpart in Puttaparthi, asking him to hand over the body to the family. While Ratnamma waited in the taxi, Kothandarain and Nandini went into Puttaparthi police station (which, incidentally, was inaugurated by Baba). She was shocked to be told that her son's body had been buried! When the family insisted on the police exhuming the body and handing it over to them, the police callously replied that the body was stinking and that it had not been properly stitched up after post-mortem at the nearby Penukonda civil hospital. In any case, they were told, they could dig up the body at their own risk and costs. Jagannatha's family was also told to flee Puttaparthi if they wanted to escape being lynched by Baba's followers. The ashram authorities refused to cooperate with Ratnanuna, who, along with several members of her family, continues to be an ardent devotee of Baba.
Reason for killing: Why were Radhakrishna and others killed? (Annexure 119, 125, 129, 132) Page 119: The bodies of Radhakrisna and Sai Kumar Mahajan were carried in reverence to their resting places, borne high on the shoulders of fellow devotees of Prashanti Nilayam. The body of Jagannathan was buried quietly in Penukonda village. His brother Kodandaram says that he cannot even find the grave.
In Bangalore, V. Krishna Murthy had swung between hope and despair for many hours. When he frantically contacted the hostel authorities at Puttaparthi to find whether his son Sairam had been killed or not, no one would tell him anything. When he called the police station, he was told that no information could be given to him over the phone; he would have to come there in person.
Investigating officers were convinced that the assailants had no intention to harm the Baba. Had they wanted to harm him, they would have rushed straight to his room instead of hanging around in the reception room till the crowds gathered. Their target undoubtedly was Radhakishna. Functioning as the Eyes and ears of the Baba, he had also made himself unpopular with several members of the trust that controls the many institutions set up in the name of the Baba the world over.
In fact, the trustees were themselves engaged in a faction feud. One faction was led by the Baba's brother Janakiramaiah and the other by Col. Joga Rao and Narayan, the trust secretary. (The other trustees are K.R. Prasad and the rajmata of Bangalore, Indulal Shah of Bombay and Sreenivasan of Madras. The Baba is the chairman.) Some of them have been collecting large sums and also gold and where there is money there is funny business. The surmise is that Radhakisna had been passing on vital information to the Baba about serious financial fiddles.
Page 125: The happenings in the abode of controversial godmanSathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, took an intriguing turn, with the revelation that the four assailants, who made an alleged attempt on the godman's life were mercilessly killed by the armed policemen at the instance of some important functionaries of the Sathya Sai Trust.
It is said that the four assailants, who locked themselves up in a room in Prashanti Nilayam were shot dead by the policemen, without any provocation. A sincere and serious inquiry by the Government would reveal all the facts that led to the attack on Sai Baba and the subsequent. But it remains to be seen, how far the State Government, would pursue the matter.
Eyewitness accounts said the commotion, which began in the ashram around 6.30 p.m. on the evening of June 6, was followed almost immediately by the wailing of siren. Residents of the neighbourhood and even the police are believed to have got the impression that some thieves had entered Prashanti Nilayam, an eyewitness, working in a place nearby told journalists at Puttaparthi. In an attempt to apprehend the 'thieves', four constables entered the Baba's abode. The villagers, who had gathered in front of the ashram, found the gates of the Nilayam closed.
The constables, reportedly, headed back for the police station returning later with reinforcements, in the meantime, the assailants had stabbed dead two Ashram volunteers Radhakrishna and Sai Kumar Mahajan. Two others, Vishnu Bhat and Anil Patle, sustained injuries in the scuffle that ensured. When the gates opened, the villagers rushed in only to find the police 'doing nothing'. The eyewitness said the killers had locked themselves up in a room. The Circle Inspector and a Sub-Inspector were attempting to gain access to the first floor with the help of a ladder since the door to the staircase was locked. An ambulance, summoned by one of the villagers, also reached the spot.
When the villagers, inquired of the blood stained Seva Dal volunteers, as to what the matter was, kept mum and went back into the Nilayam, it is said. As the police reached the room, where the assailants had locked themselves, there was a temporarily lull and observers were told that the assailants were being held captive live in the room. Sai Baba was taken captive to the green room, from the Mandir by Seva Dal volunteers and people were asked to get back to their houses. The volunteers thereafter formed a human chain around Mandir to bar entry. It is said that the Mandir wore the look of a battle field, with rods, sticks and swords strewn all over.
After 11 p.m., police officers held discussions with the authorities of the Sai Trust. Several police officers had shuttled between Prashanti Nilayam and the police station. Around 1.30 in the night the Nilayam reverberated with the sound of gunfire. About 20 rounds were fired the eye witness told the press. The dead bodies were taken, to Penukonda Hospital in the wee hours of June 7. The police official later cooked up a story saying that the four assailants had attempted to attack the police party and in self defense, the cops had to open fire.
The post-mortem report revealed that all the assailants had died due to bullet wounds. The bullets had penetrated into chests, brain and eyes at point blank range. Only the 303 rifle, has the power to send a bullet right through the body. The inquest also confirmed that there were no other injuries. The circumstantial evidence suggests that the police shot at the assailants, who had surrendered to them, and lends credence to the theory that the assailants were not carrying lethal weapons and never attempted an attack on the police force. It is believed that everything had taken place with the total approval and at the behest of top functionaries of the Sathya Sat Baba Trust. With the killing of the foursome, there is hardly any chance of truth ever corning out.
The story that some policemen were injured in the attack by the assailants, has few takers. It is said that when the police attempted to break open the door of the room, where the assailants were hiding, the bolt gave in leaving a gaping hole in the door.
Whether it was possible to attack the police through the hole, is a question only Sai Baba can answer.
Page 129: It is gathered that Radhakrishna knew too much about the clandestine affairs of the members of the Sathya Sai Central Trust and was considered "unsafe" to continue any longer.
Incidentally, Radhakrishna was the person who had slipped a gold chain into the Baba's hands at the inaugural function of the Sathya Say Kalyana Mandapam at Srinagar Colony in Hyderabad last August. The Baba then waved his hand and produced the gold chain, as if by magic, and presented it to the architect of the hall. It may be recalled that this now famous incident was recorded on a video tape by Doordarshan camera-men and subsequently exposed by Chronicle.
But there is a common impression among villagers and the police that the brain behind this whole sordid episode had laid a dragnet to kill two birds with one stone.
According to eyewitness accounts soon after the alarm siren started buzzing, the MBA students, numbering around 60, were the first to barge into the Baba's living room. The students reside in a complex opposite the Baba's Mandir. These 60 students reportedly pounced on the four alleged assailants and beat them up indiscriminately.
A local bank employee, who was also an eyewitness to the entire drama, told Chronicle on condition of anonymity that he heard the four saying from inside the locked room that they were only trying to save the Baba. The four were held captive for nearly an hour and 30 minutes.
Page 132: Properties donated by devotees to the godman, who they calm is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, has been registered in the name of trust members or members of their families instead of being registered in the name of the trust. Citing an example, they said a trust member had started a factory on the land donated by some devotee near Guindry in Madras. Similarly 10 acres of land at Whitefield in Bangalore has been sold off for construction of flats for non-resident Indians.
TRUST RECORDS NOT IN ORDER
Page 155: Sathya Sat Trust Decides to set Records in Order
It is learnt that the meeting also condemned the reports appearing in the press about the "misappropriation of funds" and the "clandestine affairs of the trust members". It was also decided to complete the task of setting the accounts straight before Sai Baba leaves for White Field at Bangalore for a short stay.
This decision would apparently give scope to understand that all the accounts pertaining to the financial transactions of the trust were not in order.
Page 171: An examination of the police photographs showed that the "scene could well have been created". The presence of bits and pieces of rope, a spotless white hand glove and the position of daggers did not seem natural... A Telugu daily report with these theories and six photographs, and the 'scene of the offence pictures in Frontline (July 2 issue) triggered wide spread rumours that the assailants could have been killed or brutally beaten up before the police shot them in "self defense".
The two wooden poles (one of them bloodstained), a wall-clock, a table-lamp and other articles on the settee in the room where Sai Baba receives ashram functionaries raised many eyebrows. There was also no explanation for a T-shaped tool and a rubber hose found there. These "significant details" uncovered by the media led to some officers even accusing the media of running a "parallel investigation". Officers also hunted around Puttaparthi and Ananthapur, the district headquarters, to recover all the prints of the photographs.
The clampdown on the post-mortem reports also created problems for newsmen who had to be content with whatever their "sources" said. This ranged from reports of only bullet injuries to allegations of extensive injuries. But, according to a reliable source the post-mortem reports could have been "dictated to doctors," to say that while the four alleged assailants had bullet injuries, the two "protectors" of Sai Baba had stab injuries.
Vishnu Bhat, the cook, and Anil Patley, an assistant, who sustained stab injuries while defending Sai Baba, were kept under heavy security in the intensive care unit of the super-specialties hospital at Puttaparthi - a gross legal irregularity. The two were brought to the Government Hospital at Penukonda, 34 km from Puttaparthi, only two weeks later, for a "formal medical examination".
POLICE OFFICIALS INVESTIGATING THE CASE HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED.
INSPECTOR WHO LODGED F.I.R, ABSCONDING. (ANNEXURE:)
Police after committing the murder over the garb of the complainants lodged a fictitious F.I.R., and after the show cause notice was issued by this Hon. Court, they absconded from the scene on the one hand while on the other Sathya Sai Baba and his officials have not been interrogated till this date, nor do do they want an investigation, nor can there be an investigation because the police officials are their devotees, nor is the story of prosecution believable as all the six who died were not enemies of Sathya Sai Baba but his staunchest devotees. They have not yet made a complaint to the police till to date.
Trust assets worth Rs. 6000 crores and national and International VIPs visit the Ashram
Argument for Respondents on 1.3.1994
The Advocate General on behalf of the Andhra Pradesh State Government argued on 1.3.1994 from 12.53 noon to 13.15 p.m. and continued the argument from 16.00 p.m. to 16.14 p.m. He argued as follows:
1. That no substantial evidence has been placed before the Hon. Court by the petitioner.
2. Petitionr has relied on newspaper reports which cannot be relied upon as per Evidence Act.
3. The Hon. High Court should not entertain Writ petitions unless there are facts involved.
4. The petition is to defame the Head of the Institution. The earlier attempt in WP. No. 8786 of 1986 proves this.
5. Kerala High Court in WP. No. 699193 speaks WHETHER A WRIT OF MANDAMUS can be issued.
6. Public Interest cases in A.P. High Court pending before the Constitution Bench.
7. Crime was registered against five police officers. Circle Inspector Gangadhar Reddy was arrested and granted bail. Sub-Inspector Gopal has applied for anticipatory bail and it is pending. Others are under judicial custody.
8. Sathya Sai Baba's statement has been recorded.
9. Complaint that investigating police officials are Sathya Sai Baba's devotees is baseless.
10. Thecrime was investigated by the local D.S.R Krishnamurthy.
11. As Rama Rao, regular D.S.P. in Cudappah was on leave, it was investigated by Saleem and later handed over to Rama Rao. Rama Rao also transferred."
12. The allegation that police officials did not sustain injuries is incorrect. Page six of the annexure filed by the petitioners say "they received minor injuries."
13. As police was involved, the A.P. State Government passed orders for investigation by Crime Branch C.I.D.
14. Investigation has come to the final stage.
15. The statements of Anil Patley and Vishnu Bhatt has already been recorded who are eye witnesses.
16. Apprehension that State Police cannot conduct the case is baseless.
17. The Hon. Court cannot order CBI inquiry on basis of Public Interest case.
18. The persons involved should file the Writ Petition. In the Supreme Court case of 1993 the Hon Court ordered CBI inquiry only because of the police encounter. In this case the Supreme Court has not laid any law.
19. Article 226 should be used only in exceptional cases where the proof for miscarriage of justice is proved.
20. Article 21. Petitioner has come with unclean hand and suppressing facts and given false statements.
21. Though the Counter Affidavit has not been filed by the Governments, the complete records of the case is produced for the Hon. Court to go through.
After hearing the argument of the Advocate General, the case was posted to 4.3.1994 for a reply by the petitioner and for orders.
Reply to the Respondents Arguments 4.3.1994
1. Newspaper report is admissible. Hon'ble Justice Kuldip Singh on the basis of newspaper report suo moto issued notice to a public litigation case under Article 141 of the Constitution. Law laid down by the Supreme Court is the law of the land.
2. It is not the petition to defame Sathya Sai Baba but to get to the truth. In the earlier case, the Hon'ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh has conceded locus standi to the petitioner in final petition. The allegations in the present petition is not that Sathya Sai Baba has murdered 6 persons but the allegation is that prosecution case is contrary to truth as the Circle Inspector who lodged the FIR after issuance of notice by the Hon'ble High Court has absconded coupled with the fact that it is against the principle of natural justice. (Kuldeep Sigh Singh AR 94 Jan. 693). That the State police investigating against the state police does not inspire confidence. CBI inquiry would be required.
3. The CB-CID. took over the investigation on 7.6.1993 morning itself and it was with their knowledge that the Circle Inspector of Police, Puttaparthi filed the F.l.R. The delay in registering the FIR by 15 hours of the murders was because he had to consult with the DOP and others.
4. The statements made by important personalities like the Home Minister, Prime Minister and the President of India in favour of Sathya Sai Baba has the propensity to influence the investigating authorities.
5. In spite of 240 days having lapsed, even a charge sheet has not been filed by the police.
6. All the police officials conducting investigation are devotees of Sathya Sai Baba.
7. It is denied that investigation has come to final stage. The fact that there bas been no investigation at all and the trial on the basis of fictitious FIR is a mockery of the Rule of Law and further it is in public interest to ascertain how land-mines, research development explosives and potassium cyanide of German origin were present in the campus.
8. The use of three different types of weapons including automatic weapons by the police to fire 27 rounds at four unarmed youths is clear pointer to the fact that the motive of the police was to destroy the available evidence which are offences punishable under Section 206 IPC. It is pertinent to mention that even in the case of former two Prime Ministers of the country, the security officials at the risk of their lives, disarmed the assassins and were tried in accordance with law. The Home Minister has made a statement that this is an internal matter of the ashram as suggested to him by Sathya Sai Baba who is not keen on investigation and accordingly the investigation has been scuttled whereas when the father of the Nation made a similar statement when he was gunned down to spare the assassin, the law took its own course. A proper investigation was conducted and the guilty sentenced to death and the Sathya Sai Baba is not above the father of the Nation.
9. That the Director General of Police Mr. T. Suryanarayana Rao announced on 10.6.1993 that all police personnel involved in the action on Sunday night would be suitably rewarded.
10. The mysterious circumstances in which 6 dead bodies were found in the bed room of the Sathya Sai Baba when the police have opened the fire in the corridor and the assailants are said to have died on the spot coupled with the fact that around the dead bodies, there was no stream of blood but the blood was found in another room. It is clear that the police version is nothing short of hoak which can be further corroborated by the fact that when the relatives of the deceased requested the police to return the bodies, they were informed that the bodies were cremated or buried in haste. They were even terrorized to leave the place. The most startling issue in the case is that all the four who were gunned down, belonged to the inner circle of the Sathya Sai Baba who were never on inimical terms with the Baba, and therefore, to call them assailants requires proper probe. The very fact that the State Government is insisting on not transferring the case to the CBI is cogent evidence of the fact that they want to suppress the material facts.
11. The only interest of the petitioner is to see that the rule of law is upheld and that a proper investigation in accordance with law is conducted by the impartial agencies which would inspire public confidence as otherwise the common citizen would be compelled to believe that Article 14 of the Constitution is applied by different standards depending upon the status of the individual.
12. The very foundation of the prosecution case that a telegram was sent by Chandraswamy to Sathya Sai Baba and the assailants went to hand over the telegram to Sathya Sai Baba, whereas it is a matter of record that both Chandraswamy and Sai Baba have fax machines and therefore, the prosecution case on this very basis is unbelievable.
13. To initiate the trial on the basis of fictitious First Information Report recorded at the instance of Circle Inspector of police who is today an absconder in the eyes of law cannot by any stretch of imagination make people with common prudence to swallow this bitter falsity.
14. It is denied that press reports are not admissible in evidence. If defamatory reports are published in newspaper, the case under Section 499 and 500 for defamation can be initiated on the basis of the said report. Though 250 newspapers and journals throughout India published the news items collectively marked as Annexure "A" to the petition, neither the police nor the State Government or Sathya Sai Baba have either disputed the contents of any of the press clippings.
15. Regarding the earlier W.P. and W.A. in 1986, later exposure of Sathya Sai Baba on the Doordarshan cassette proves the dismissal was based on the Hon. Judges beliefs and not on facts.
The petition was posted to 8.3.1994 for orders and again adjourned to 15.3.1994. On 15.3.1994 the petition was dismissed. It took 5 months and 18 days for the Hon. High Court to dismiss the same at the admission stage itself while for admission of a writ petition it takes only a few minutes.
Press Release on Dismissal
REGARDING THE CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION No. 14454/93 filed on 27.9.1993 to order CBI inquiry into the 6 murders in Sathya Sai Baba's bed room and other murky happenings in Prashanthi Nilayam.
THE CWP DISMISSED ON 15.3.1994
I, the petitioner was present when the judgment was announced. Though I prayed for a xerox copy of the judgment as the whole judgment was not read in the open court or to allow me to go through the judgment, the Hon. Justice disallowed my first prayer and for the second he ordered that I can go through the judgment along with my advocate. As he was out of town, I left the Court after applying for the certified copies of the judgment and it was ordered to be given to me on Friday the 1th March l994.
At the time of argument my advocate K.N. Balgopal from New Delhi had filed the copy of the judgment dated 1.11.1994 in 1993 (4) Scale, where the Hon'ble Justices of the Supreme Court Mr. Kuldip Singh and S.C. Agrawal took suo moto action on a newspaper report from punjab, titled "DEAD ONCE, TWICE". The quickness in which the Hon'ble Justices acted was most commendable so also the observation made in the order "that if the allegations in the news item are correct then it is the most heinous offence against the penal laws of the country as well of humanity".
Along with my writ petition I had also filed 186 pages of news reports about the 6 murders and other murky happenings in the ashram of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. On my part I do not believe that our National and regional newspapers and journals are irresponsible. If only the Hon'ble Justice Mr. Ramakrishnam Raju took action like the Supreme Court in the 1993(4) Scale, my allegations in the affidavit would have been proved true.
What I would request the newspapers and the journals is to compare the judgment of the Supreme Court in 1993(4) Scale with the judgment in Writ Petition No. 14454/93 announced on 15.3.1994 and find for themselves if the judgment is justifiable.
Following the principle laid in the S.C. Judgment in 1993(4) Scale, if the Hon'ble Justice Mr. Raju had ordered for the copy of the Doordarshan News video cassette of the inauguration of the Kalyanamandapam of Sathya Sai Baba wherein the Hon. Prime Ministers P.V Narasimha Rao, Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil, the Home Minister S.B. Chavan, the then Law Minister K. Vijayabhaskara Reddy, the Agriculture Minister Balram Jakhar, the then Karnataka Chief Minister S. Bangarappa, the Rajasthan Governor Dr. Channa Reddy, Governor Krishan Kant and the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Janardhan Reddy were present, he would have ruled that Sri Sathya Sai Baba by showing tricks of producing things out of thin air had cheated his gullible devotees for the past half a century and built his financial empire worth more than six thousand crores of rupees on their gullibility.
The Hon'ble Justice would have ordered the police department and the Government Civil Hospital Penukonda to produce the postmortem records and registers of all the alleged deaths in Prashanthinilayam of the devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and would have found that the allegations made in the petitioner's affidavit and the newspapers were true.
Then, if the Hon'ble Justice had gone through the 186 newspaper clippings filed along with CWP No.14454/93, he would have found that my statement in the affidavit was true that the local police, inmates of the ashram and the politicians including the Union Home Minister are trying to prevent an investigation by the CBI.
If the Hon'ble Justice had seen the video film of the inauguration of the Kalyanamandapam made by Doordarshan, he would have found that the Hon. Justice in Writ Petition 9697/86 erred in holding that Sri Sathya Sai Baba materialises gold by a split of a second from thin air by his spiritual powers, and also found that his conclusion that "evidently, the intention of the petitioner is more to tarnish the image of the Head of the Ashram" is wrong. The attempt of the petitioner was not to tarnish the image of the Head of the Ashram, but to bring out the truth. Whatever may be the image or status or influence of a person, they are not above LAW.
The Hon'ble Justice while saying that wide publicity had been given to the magisterial inquiry and the petitioner did not participate in the said inquiry, he has not explained as to what was the wide publicity given. I have not found anything in the national dailies, Coimbatore edition about the said inquiry nor did the Hon. Justice question the petitioner at the time of the argument. Moreover the Deccan Herald from Bangalore writes that meanwhile according to sources in Puttaparthi, the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) today invited people at Prashanthi Nilayam to appear before him as part of the magisterial inquiry being conducted by him. However, nobody came forward to voice any opinion apparently for fear of being marked as persona non grata by those who govern the affairs at Prashanthi Nilayam. This ought to have opened the eyes of the Hon'ble Justice that without proper protection of the witnesses none would come forward and this is a threat to law and justice.
If the Hon'ble justice had gone through all the records of the case, he would have also seen the two rolls of films and one video film taken of the place of incident. Then he would have found that the photos published in pages 131, 146, 147, 148, 170, 176 and 177 of the newspaper clippings were true and the F.I.R. filed by the C.I. was false. As the Hon'ble Justice has not mentioned anything about these two rolls of films, may be the respondents have suppressed these important evidence from the Court. Then he would also not come to the conclusion 'That on the perusal of the records of investigation, he could emphasize at this stage that the allegations of the petitioner had no basis." He also would have known that at the first instance itself CB-CID had taken over the case and that was why the F.I.R, was registered only after 15 hours of the incident and the CB-CID very well knew of the F.I.R, and it was with their knowledge and help the F.I.R prepared.
The fact that many of the Hon'ble Judges of the High Courts and Supreme Court have visited the Baba recently and after my filing the CWP No. 14454/93, I am wondering why the Hon'ble Justice Mr. Ramakrishnam Raju did not follow the precedence in the 1993(4) Scale. Whatever maybe, it is the duty of the Hon'ble Courts to prove that there are none above the Law of the Country however influential they may be. I sincerely wish that our newspapers also would see that our Law is SUPREME.
From: INDIAN SKEPTIC, Vol.7, No.1, May 1994.
Who Committed Perjury?
The judgment in Cr. W.P. No. 14454/93 and the arguments on our behalf and that of the respondents are published. I have numbered the sentences of the judgment from which the Hon. Justice decides the dismissal of the W.P. Our comments on each sentence are also published. The judgment is silent on most of the parts of the affidavit and the arguments of our counsel.
Now we are just pointing out one instance in the judgment: The Hon. Justice states that "the record relating to the investigation", "the record, as placed before me", "on the perusal of the record of investigation". This means that the respondents have produced all the records of investigation before the Hon. Justice. The Hon. Justice is silent as to which all records were produced before him.
If it is true, then the respondents would have produced the remand report submitted to the Judicial First Magistrate after the arrest of 3 police officers on 30.12.1993.
In this report the Dy. Superintendent of Police C.I.D., Cuddappah states that "on 8.6.1993 C.i.D. took up investigation into this case."
According to the learned Advocate General as well as the learned Standing Counsel for the Central Government as stated by the Hon. Justice, the investigation which was ordered immediately was taken up by the Crime Branch and not by local police and within a few hours after the occurrence, the Crime Branch of Criminal Investigating Department has taken over the investigation."
Both the above are contradicting.
Then on what basis did the Hon. Justice come to conclusion that "in this case, within hours after the incident took place i.e., on June 7, 1993, the very next day the Inspector General of Police (C.I.D.), Hyderabad by Radio message requested Mr. M.A. Saleem, C.I.D. Timpathi to take up the case for investigation immediately with instructions to the Superintendent of Police, Ananthapur to direct the concerned to hand over the case Diary and other relevant records to the above officer immediately"?
Now, who have committed the perjury? Every sentence in the judgment leads to perjury and it proves that the Hon. Justice unfortunately took up the burden of saving the prestige of the Ashram where at the incident took place and unaccounted for deaths are taking place which the police have filed as suicides and other murky happenings. That the Hon. Justice at the time of admission went on deciding facts, which are not supported by any affidavit and did not consider legal aspects which are supported by the decisions of Supreme Court.
The Oath of the Judge
I, ............... having been appointed Judge of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh do swear in the name of God that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, acknowledge and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill and that I will uphold the Constitution and the Court.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE
PRADESH AT HYD.
(SPECIAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION)
TUESDAY THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF MARCH
NINE HUNDRED AND NINETY FOUR
The Honourable Mr. Justice R Ramakrishnam Raju
writ petition No.14454 of 1993.
1. Union of India Rep. by its Secretary for Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi.
2. Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, C.G.D. Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi.
3. State of Andhra Pradesh retd., by its Home Secretary, Secretariat Building, Hyderabad.
4. Director General of Police, Government of A.P., Saifabad, Hyderabad.
5. Superintendent of Police, Ananthapur.
6. Circle Inspector of Police Puttaparthi, Ananthapur Dist.
Petition under Article 226 of the constitution of India praying that in the circumstances stated in the affidavit filed herein the High Court will be pleased to direct:
i) Respondent No.1 to order investigation into the incidents that have been happened at the residence of Sai Baba, otherwise known as Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur Dist. on 6.6.1993 at 10.30 p.m where at 6 persons are killed;
ii) Respondent No.3 to hand over the investigation into the above incident to the 2 respondent herein;
iii) Respondent No.1 to inquire into how an ordinary citizen who does not have any manufacturing activities in his premises, has amassed an empire worth Rs.6,000/- crores;
iv) Respondents 4 and 5 to order initiation of criminal proceedings against those police officials who claimed that they have killed four persons at Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District on 6June, 1993 at 10.30 p.m.
v) The respondents to investigate the cases of torture, assaults and murders which has been a pastime in the said premises and which has been suppressed by the local police i.e., Respondents 5 and 6 herein.
vi) The respondents to investigate into the happenings of deaths of the students and staff which are filed off as suicides, and the requisition of the students as a watch and ward and bodyguards of Satya Sai Baba while studying in his educational institutions;
vii) And Costs be awarded in favour of the petitioner and against the respondents;
Counsel for the petitioners: M/s. K.N. Balagopal, B. Tharakam and Vijay Kumar Counsel for the Respondents 1 and 2: Mr. R.S. Murthy Standing Counsel for the Central Govt. &,
Counsel, for the Respondents 3 to 6: Advocate General
The court at the stage.of Admission made the following ORDER:-
This writ petition is filed seeking for a direction to the first respondent - Union of India, to order investigation into the incidents that had happened at the residence of Sri Satya Sai Baba, otherwise known as Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Ananthapur District on June 6, 1993 at 10.30 p.m. in which six persons were killed; to direct the third respondent to hand over the investigation to the second respondent to inquire into how Sri Satya Sai Baba had amassed an empire worth Rs.6,000/- crores; to direct Respondent Nos. 4 & 5 - Director General of Police, Government of Andhra Pradesh and Superintendent of Police, Ananthapur, to initiate criminal proceedings against those police officials who claimed to have killed four persons at Prashanti Nilayam on June 6, 1993 at 10.30 p.m.; to direct the respondents to investigate the case of torture, assaults and murders which have been a pastime in the said premises; and to direct the respondents to investigate into the happenings of deaths of the students and staff which are filed off as suicides and the requisition of the students as watch and ward and body-guards of Satya Sai Baba while studying in his educational institutions.
The petitioner is the Convenor of the Indian Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (ICSICOP) which is a cooperating member of CSICOP registered in the United States. The petitioner has attained mastery over 1500 miracles psychic phenomena. He is a person concerned with the Scientific Investigation to explain the miracles. So, he is having locustandi to file the writ petition as a public interest litigation.
Earlier; the petitioner filed a writ petition -9796 of 1986, in this Court for a direction to initiate action against Sri Satya Sai Baba for contravention of the Gold Control Act, as he has materialized a gold necklace from the atmosphere at the wedding ceremony of the daughter of the then sitting Judge of the Supreme Court. As the said writ petition was dismissed, the petitioner has also filed Writ Appeal No.1255 of 1986 and the same was also dismissed.
The respondent Nos. 4 & 6 are investigating into the alleged incident that took place on June 6, 1993 at about 10.30 p.m. at Prashanti Nilayam wherein six inmates of the Ashram were gunned down. At about 10.30 p.m four assailants viz., E.K. Suresh Kumar; Jagannathan; Suresh Shantaram Prabhu; and K. Sai Ram have tried to enter Prashanti Nilayam around 10.30 p.m. to deliver a telegram to Sri Satya Sai Baba. On being intercepted by the volunteers viz., Anil Patley; Vishnu Bhatt; Radhakrishna Menon; and Sai Kumar Mahajan, a scuffle ensued which culminated in the assailants whipping out daggers and knives. On hearing the commotion, Sri Satya Sai Baba went to the 1st floor to admonish the assailants and thereafter; he moved to his bed room and bolted the door. As per the First Information Report registered at the instance of the Station House Officer, Puttaparthi, it is stated that an attempt was made on the life of Sri Satya Sai Baba. By the time police entered the Ashram, the assailants have become panicky at the sight of the policemen and climbed on the lst floor and locked themselves in the Chambers of Sri Satya Sai Baba; and when the police tried to forsake a forceful entry into the room where the assailants had locked themselves in, the assailants attacked the police and the police in defense had to shoot all the four assailants with rifles. The police with a view to destroy the available evidence, physically liquidated the assailants, an act punishable under Section 201 IPC. Even before the police had arrived at the scene, the bodies of the four personal aides of Sri Satya Sai Baba who are alleged to have been stabbed by the four assailants were removed to the Super Specialty Hospital run by the Ashram. Two out of them later succumbed to the injuries.
There seems to be no clear motive for the murderous attempt, according to the petitioner. There are many contradictory stories circulated adding the prevailing confusion. The entire incident revolves around the sole purpose of gaining control over Baba's vast illegal empire by a certain section. According to the petitioner most of the top police officials connected with the investigation process are also the devotees of Sri Satya Sai Baba, and therefore it is futile to expect from them even the semblance of impartiality. It is not for the first time doubts have been expressed about the role of local police. They have helped Baba in hushing up unaccounted deaths and suicides involving foreign and Indian devotees. The Doctors of the local hospital are quoted to have said that many dead bodies of women brought from the Ashram to the Hospital for Post-mortem examination, bore vivid marks of torture.At least two murders, one of a Swedish lady and another an Australian lady have taken place within the Ashram premises. Several male students belonging to the educational institutions run by Sri Satya Sai Baba have committed suicide after being sexually abused. From the above facts, according to the petitioner, the investigation process is either beyond the competency of the local police or that they are deliberately suppressing the facts.Therefore, it is imperative in public interest that the investigation be handed over to an impartial body like Central Bureau of Investigation.
According to the petitioner, the original First Information Report has been suppressed by the police and substituted by the report of the Inspector of Police. Though Sri Satya Sai Baba is an eye witness to the incident and allegedly the prime target, even his Statement under Section 161 Cr. P.C. has not been recorded by the police. It is also alleged that the local police, inmates and politicians like the Union Home Minister and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh are trying to prevent the investigation by the C.B.I. The police in refusing to hand over the bodies of the assailants and their Post-mortem reports to their families, have committed offence punishable under Section 201 IPC. The Ashram is virtually a threat to the security of the State as is evidenced from the reports that abundant quantities of RDX and other explosive material have been unearthed from the said premises and even the Central security during the visits of President and Prime Minister have not been able to unearth the same. At one stage the Union Minister expressed his willingness to entrust the investigation to the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi. Even though a notice was issued to the Union Home Minister on June 23, 1993, no action was taken so far. In view of this, a detailed inquiry should have been ordered. Hence this writ petition.
Sri K.N. Balagopal, the learned Counsel for the petitioner has reiterated before me all the contentions raised in the petitioner's affidavit. (1) On the other hand, the learned Advocate-General as well as the learned Standing Counsel for the Central Government resisting the writ petition, contended that although a Ministerial enquiry by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate was immediately ordered, after giving wide publicity and after conducting enquiry, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate since submitted his report to the Government and in spite of wide publicity and holding enquiry, the petitioner did not avail the opportunity, nor participated in the enquiry. (2) The allegation that 161 Cr. P.C. statement of Sri Satya Sai Baba was not recorded is not correct. (3) The investigation which was ordered immediately, was taken up by the crime branch and not by local police and within a few hours after the occurrence, the Crime Branch of Criminal Investigating department has taken over the investigation. (4) Therefore, the allegations of the petitioner are not correct. (5) Further, the allegation that if the investigation is not handed over to the C.B.I., the State Police against whom allegations are made, would not arrest the accused Police Officers is not correct. (6) Even the Police Officers against whom allegations are made, have also been arrested. (7) The petitioner has not come with clean, hands. (8) The petitioner; earlier filed a writ petition unsuccessfully alleging that the Head of the Ashram had violated the provisions of the Gold Control Act. (9) It is finally contended that this Court has no jurisdiction to direct investigation by C.B.I.
(10) From the facts of this case, it is seen that two persons viz., Radhakrishna Menon, driver of Sri Sai Baba and one Sai Kumar Mahajan, an M.Com., student were killed by inflicting knife injuries; while Anil Patley, an M.B.A., diploma holder in Cardiology and Vishnu Bhatt, a cook of Sri Sai Baba were also injured in the incident that took place on June 6, 1993 at the Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi. (11) As per the allegations in the Writ petition, four persons viz., E.K Suresh Kumar; Jagannathan Suresh Shantarm, Prabhu and K. Sai Ram have tried to enter the Prashanti Nilayam around 10.30 p.m. to deliver what was purported to be a telegram to Sri Satya Sai Baba. (12) On being intercepted by the volunteers mentioned above viz., Radhakrishna Menon; Sai Kumar Mahjan; Anil Patley and Vishnu Bhatt, a scuffle ensued in which the assailants whipped out draggers and knives and stabbed the volunteers, due to which two of them died.
(13) On receiving the information, police immediately arrived on the scene. (14) According to the petitioner; on seeing the policemen, the assailants became panicky and climbed on the 1st floor and locked themselves in Sri Satya Sai Baba's chambers. (15) The police in an attempt to nab the assailants tried to make a forceful entry into the room and as the assailants attacked the police, the police broke open the door and shot the assailants. (16) The petitioner contents that the police with a view to destroy the evidence, liquidated the assailants, an act punishable under Section 201 IPC. (17) It is the apprehension of the petitioner that since some police officers are responsible for killing the assailants, they are guilty for the said act, and as such, the State police will not be able to conduct the enquiry impartially against their subordinates. (18) Of course, the petitioner has made certain other allegations regarding the conditions prevailing in the Ashram. (19) Those allegations have no bearing on the investigation which is in progress regarding the killing of six persons and injuring two others. (20) Those allegations at a glance are that the Head of the Ashram has amassed a financial empire worth Rs. 6000/- crores.(21) It is purely an extraneous matter; in considering the question of the incident that took place on June 6, 1993. (22) Whether the properties are the private properties of the Head of the Ashram or that the properties belong to the trust and how those properties are acquired are not matters genuine to this inquiry. (23) This Court cannot embark upon a roving enquiry into those accusations, in the absence of any details whatsoever. (24) It is also stated that the campus of Sri Satya Sai Baba has become notorious for the death of foreign Nationals, more particularly women whose bodies according to the medical records, bore vivid marks of torture. (25) It is also alleged that the death of one Swedish lady and another Australian lady have taken place in the Ashram. (26) It is further stated that several boy students at the educational institutions, run by Sri Satya Sai Baba have committed suicide after being sexually abused. (27) Regarding these allegations, I must say that there is not even a scrap of paper filed into the Court to establish these allegations. (28) Either the copies of the Accidents Register, or any Register maintained by the Hospital Authorities or the wound certificates or postmortem certificates could have been filed in support of his contention (29) In the absence of any such material, the allegations in my view remain as mere allegations.
(30) Even according to the petitioner he had earlier filed a writ petition against the Head of the Ashram alleging that he contravened the provisions of the Gold Control Act. (31) As the writ petition was dismissed, he carried the matter in writ appeal unsuccessfully. (32) It is also his case that he is capable of performing about 1500 miracles. (33) In his earlier writ petition he has chosen the incident that took place at the wedding ceremony of the daughter of a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court wherein Sri Satya Sai Baba has materialized a gold ornament for presentation. (34) He unsuccessfully carried a tirade against the Head of the Ashram. (35) Now, although in his guardedly worded writ petition, not even a slightest allegation is made implicating the Head of the Ashram in this incident, except stating that at one time it was believed to be an attempt on his life, he is pursuing his attack on the Ashram and the Head of the Ashram with irrelevant allegations, although they have absolutely no bearing on the incident that took place on June 6,1993. (36) While contending that an impartial investigation should be directed against the incident that took place on June 6, 1993, the petitioner wants to roll into the said investigation about several other imaginary allegations about the happenings and the conditions in the said Ashram (37) To my mind it appears to be more intended as an onslaught on the Head of the Ashram rather than any genuine grievance of the petitioner in seeking a direction to order investigation by C.B.I. (38) The purpose for which this writ petition is filed is more than clear. (39) It is solely intended to denigrate the image of the Ashram and to defame the Head of the Ashram.
(40) The allegations about the existence of land mines, RDX or other explosive substances and other dangerous material if found in the Ashram during the investigation of this incident is a matter to be taken note of during the investigation which is in progress. (41) Therefore, it is not proper for me to go into this aspect in this writ petition.
(42) Coming to the allegations regarding the incident in question, the allegation is that the original F.I.R has been suppressed and substituted by the report of the Police Inspector. (43) Here again, the petitioner has not thrown any light except stating that the original F.I.R was replaced by the F.I.R. registered at the instance of the Station House Officer. (44) The particulars of the F.I.R given earlier including the descriptive particulars of the persons and the contents of the F.I.R. etc., are not disclosed. (45) In the absence of any such material, the allegation that there was a prior F.I.R. which was replaced by a later one at the instance of the Station House Officer, at this stage cannot be countenanced... (46) As the investigation is pending, this aspect also will certainly fall for consideration, if there is any truth in the said allegation. (47) The allegation that even the 161 Cr. P.C. statement of the Head of the Ashram has not been recorded so far by the police is not correct. (48) The record, as placed before me, discloses that the allegation of the petitioner that even the statement of the Head of the Ashram under Section 161 Cr. P.C., was not recorded is not correct. (49) It is not known on what basis the petitioner made such an allegation in his affidavit. (50) Unfortunately, the petitioner has not disclosed the basis or the source from which such information is received by him. (51)The petitioner cannot level allegations from his imagination.
(52) The allegation in ground No. 'E' that the local Police, inmates and politicians like the Union Home Minister and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh are trying to prevent an investigation by the C.B.I., thereby ignored their legal and constitutional duty towards the public at large, has no basis.
(53) Under Andhra Pradesh Police Standing Order 1031, the Crime Branch, Criminal Investigation Department (CB CID) will ordinarily deal with crimes of certain classes, including cases of such a nature as, in the opinion of the Director General and Inspector General of Police; the Deputy Inspector-General, or district authorities should be dealt with by them. (54) In this case, within hours after the incident took place i.e., on June 7, 1993, the very next day, the Inspector General of Police (CID) Hyderabad by Radio message requested Mr. M.A. Saleem, DSP CD, Tirupathi to take up the case for investigation immediately with instructions to the Superintendent of Police, Ananthapur to direct the concerned to hand over the Case Diary and other relevant records to the above officer immediately. (55) Therefore, it is clear that the Inspector-General of Police (CD) swung into action and ever since the investigation is being conducted by the CB-CID only and not by the local police. (56) In the petitioner's affidavit, it is not even stated that the investigation is being conducted by the CB-CID. (57) In fact, one of the directions sought for by the petitioner is to respondent Nos. 4 & 5 to order initation of criminal proceedings against those police officials who claimed to have killed four persons on that day. (58) Perhaps the petitioner is not aware that the Respondent No. 4 & 5 are not concerned with the investigation, as the investigation now in progress is, being conducted by the DSP (CD), Tirupati and DSP (CD) Cuddapan, from the very next day of the incident.
(59) The allegation in ground No. 'H' that an impartial investigation cannot be expected from the local police force when they are admittedly staunch devotees of Sri Satya Sai Baba, must have been made under the impression that the local police are conducting the investigation. (60) Now that the local police are not concerned with the investigation and that the investigation is being conducted by CB-CID under the direct control of Inspector General of the CB-CID., this allegation lacks force.
(61)The allegation that the police with a view to destroy the evidence must have killed four assailants and that as top police officials involved in the investigation process are also the devotees of Sri Satya Sai Baba, it is futile to expect from that even a semblance of impartiality, is also untenable. (62) The record relating to the investigation shows that number of police officers have been arrested. Even K.N. Gangadhara Reddy, the Circle Inspector of Police, Puttaparthi, who played a prominent role in the incident and on whose report the Station House Officer registered the F.I.R had to approach this Court for anticipatory bail under Section 438 Cr. P.C. (63) My learned brother- Jagannadhan Raju, J. granted bail to the said Circle Inspector. (64) The Sub-Inspector, Head Constables and armed constables who opened fire, were also arrested. (65) Therefore, there is absolutely no basis for the apprehension of the petitioner that since police Officers who are involved in the investigation are the staunch devotees of Sri Satya Sai Baba, the investigation cannot proceed impartially.
(66) The allegation that whether the police party has destroyed the evidence by killing the assailants thereby rendering themselves punishable for an office under Section 210 IPC., is a matter which has to be decided after the investigation is over. (67) As it cannot be said that the investigation is perfunctory or make-believe affair, the allegations of the petitioner in this regard, cannot be accepted. (68) Although a Magisterial enquiry was ordered, and a Sub-Divisional Magistrate had conducted enquiry after wide publicity and submitted his report, the petitioner did not participate in the said enquiry. (69) He would have participated, if he is really interested to bring out the truth. (70) Evidently, the intention of the petitioner is more to tarnish the image of the Head of the Ashram. (71) This circumstance also lends support to this view of mine.
(72) Further, the allegation of the petitioner that some of the bodies were not handed over to their relatives, cannot advance the case of the petitioner as sometimes, the relatives may not come forward to claim the dead bodies. (73) It is not the case of the petitioner that in spite of the claim made by the relatives, the dead bodies were not handed over to them on some pretext or the other. (74) So also the allegation that there was no Post-mortem conducted on some dead bodies cannot be accepted at this stage. (75) As already stated the thrust of the writ petition is mainly about conducting of investigation by the local police and since the investigation is not being conducted by the local police, the very basis is knocked down and so the writ petition has to be dismissed on this ground alone. (76) Even otherwise, there are no merits in this writ petition and there is no truth or substance in the allegations as disclosed in this writ petition. (77) There are no grounds to believe that the investigation now in progress is proceeding under bias or the result of partiality. (78) There are also no circumstances brought out even to doubt that the investigation cannot proceed fairly. (79) There are no instances brought to my notice by which even a genuine doubt or apprehension can arise to the credibility of the investigation under progress. (80) It is not every case in which Subordinate police Officers are involved the investigation by the Superior Police Officers can be doubted. (81) Instances are galore where Police Officers conducted perfect investigation and brought the Subordinate police officers to book. (82) On a perusal of the record of investigation, I can certainly emphasize at this stage that the allegations of the petitioner have no basis.
(83) The learned Counsel for the petitioner during the course of his strenuous arguments has drawn my attention to some of the newspaper clippings. (84) Some of these news items relate to suspicion about motive for the killings by the assailants. (85) Was it due to feuds among trustees; was it an attempt on Sri Satya Sai Baba, or was it a power struggle to gain control over the vast assets of Sri Satya Sai Baba are some of the doubts raised in the columns of newspapers. (86) It is reported the head of Satya Sai World Trust as saying that there is no need to entrust the investigation to CBI. (87) The Post-mortem report of the deceased Radhakrishha Menon, shows 16 stab injuries on his body. (88) In some of columns Home Minister and the Chief Minister are reported to have cancelled their visit. (89) Most of these Statements are opinions gathered from public or from knowledgeable sources. (90) The opinions may be true and sometimes they may not be true. (91) It is reported that the police found, on search of the premises, two land mines and cast iron shell without explosive material. (92) A doctor of a nearby Government Hospital is reported to have said that on Post-mortem of some unidentified dead bodies brought from the Ashram bear signs of rape etc. (93) I have already discussed about the last two allegations earlier. (94) The other allegations or even these allegations do not cast any slur either on the competency or fairness of the on going investigation by the CB CD. (95) Therefore viewed from any angle, I am not able to accept the contention of the petitioner that there should be direction for conducting of investigation by the CBI as for mere asking such a direction cannot be issued in the absence of sufficient material warranting interference with the investigation in question.
(96) Since I am not satisfied that there is any substance warranting my interference to issue any of the directions prayed for, I am not considering the larger question viz., 'Whether this Court has got power to issue a direction for conducting the investigation by the C.B.I..' (97) For all the above reasons, the writ petition fails and is accordingly dismissed at the stage of admission, but in the circumstances, without costs.
Sd. M.J. Baig
For Asst. Registrar.To:
1. The Secretary Union of India Home Affairs, North Block New Delhi.
2. The Director Central Bureau of Investigation C.G.D. Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi.
3. The Home Secretary of State AP. Secretariat Buildings, Hyd.,
4. The Director-General of Police Govt. of A.P. Saifabad, Hyd.,
5. The Superintendent of Police, Ananthapur.
6. The Circle Inspector of Police Puttaparthi, Ananthapur Dist.,
7. One Copy to Sri R.S. Murthy Standing Counsel for Central Govt., High Court of A.P. (OPUC)
8. Two cc to the Advocate General (Out) High Court of A.P.,
9. One C.D.Copy.
10. One C.C. to Mr. B. Tharakam, Advocate (OPUC)
Judges Rush to Puttaparthi
Judges to Puttaparthi - Work Load on Court Employees
EENADU - Telugu Daily, Ananthapur, dated 19.1.1994.
Legal Reporter: Ananthapur January 18 (News Today):As the visits of High Court and Supreme Court judges to Puttaparthi are increasing, the employees working in different courts of the district have to face extra work load. The l5 judges from different High courts and Supreme Courts visited Puttaparthi from December 28th to January 4th 1994 i.e., within a period of one week. The court employees have to arrange for vehicles to all the judges visiting this district. They also have to arrange guest houses, provide necessary security during their visit to Satya Sai Baba. They have to look after their food arrangements. All these arrangements have to be inspected by the lower grade court staff. On December 29th four judges from Andhra Pradesh High Court visited the Baba. As soon as they left Puttaparthi, judges from Supreme Court, and Delhi High Court started visiting. Immediately on the next day the staff had to welcome them and provide rest, travel arrangements, food and other things to two more judges of the A.P. High Court. Again one more judge from Bombay High Court came to Puttaparthi along with his whole family. The staff were completely upset in facing the extra expenses. The Dharmavaram and Penugonda court staff seems to be the main sufferers. Referred to the incident which occurred on June 6th 1993 at Prashanti Nilayam, the frequent visits of the judges has become a controversy. It is doubtful whether an impartial judgment would be given. In the present situation the police personnel are facing lots of problems to provide security to the High Court and Supreme Court judges. Police believe that as long as it is a personal tour it would not be a problem.
omments on Judgement in Cr.W.P. No. 14454193B. Premanand
1. The respondents have not filed a counter affidavit when they took time at the time of admission nor have produced any proof to prove that the petitioners affirmations in the writ petition are false. The respondents have not produced the order of the State Government for a magisterial enquiry by the sub-divisional magistrate nor has produced any proof of what was the wide publicity given about the enquiry The information about the enquiry is not seen in the national dailies in their Coimbatore edition.
2. The respondents have not produced any proof to prove as to when the statement of Satya Sai Baba was recorded and what was the statement recorded under section 161 Cr. P.C.
3. CB (CID) is a part of the State Police. If the CB-CID had taken over the investigation within a few hours after the occurrence and when the Puttaparthi police station had taken 15 hours to lodge the F.I.R., it now becomes clear as to why there was delay in registering the F.I.R.
4. The statement made by the petitioner in his affidavit is not an allegation but a fact. If the affirmations of the petitioner is not correct, it is surprising that the respondents did not file counter nor take contempt of court action against the petitioner.
5. The fact that Circle Inspector of Police was allowed to escape from the custody of CB-CID until he got the anticipatory bail proves that CB-CID being a part of the State Police had connived with the Puttaparthi police.
6. They were arrested only after they obtained anticipatory bail and then let free because of the anticipatory bail.
7. Just alleging that the petitioner has not come with clean hands does not prove anything. The respondents have not produced any proof that the petitioner has come with unclean hands, even when they were given time to file their corner: affidavit. If the respondents had challenged the petitioner with a counter affidavit, the petitioner would have produced proof available with him and prayed to the Hon. Justice to get necessary records from the Doordarshan, Police, Government Civil Hospital, Income-Tax Department, the Endowment Board, State Revenue Department etc.
8. This was not an allegation. If the Hon. Justices in the Writ Petition and Writ appeal had cared to verify whether Satya Sai Baba can really materialize gold from air in a split of a second by his spiritual power, they would have found that his claims were false and only tricks. When the petitioner had produced the article published by Deccan Chronicle of 24.11.1992 where they have published the stills from the video cassette made by Doordarshan of the inauguration of the Kalyanamandapam in Hyderabad where Satya Sai Baba was exposed while producing a gold necklace, Hon. Justice Ramakrishnam Raju ought to have shown courage in ordering the Director, Doordarshan to produce that cassette and seen it. Then he would have found that his brother justices dismissed these petitions based on their beliefs and not on facts.
9. It is not the respondents to contend whether the Hon. Court has jurisdiction or not. It is the constitution and the Laws that the Hon. Court has to look into.
10. The Hon. Justice has not mentioned how he came to this conclusion and which records he had based to come to this conclusion.
11. These are not the allegations of the petitioner but the statement of the Circle Inspector in the lodged by him.
12. This statement is also apart of the F.I.R. and the Circle Inspector in F.I.R. states that he learnt it from the Ashram. Now the person or persons who have given this information to the police from the ashram should be the eye witnesses to the crime, but none of them have been interrogated by the CB-CD who according to the respondents took over the investigation within a few hours of the occurrence. And instead of registering the F.I.R by the person who gave this first information to the Circle Inspector, the Circle Inspector himself had lodged the F.I.R. and also has not come with the names of these persons in the F.I.R thus suppressing the first information.
13. The F.I.R is silent as to who gave this information which was the first information and the Hon. Justice has not cared to question the respondents in this regard.
14. Here again this is not the view of the petitioner but the statement of the C.I. in the F.I.R.
15. The Hon. Justice has again confused this statement as that of the petitioner for reasons best known to him. What the petitioner stated in his affidavit is as follows:"The police in an attempt to nab the assailants are said to have tried to make a forceful entry into the room where the assailants had locked themselves in and it seems that the assailants attacked the police when the latter broke open the door, and in defense they shot all the four assailants with rifles."
This is what the Cl. stated in the F.I.R.
16. The photographs in pages 131, 146, 147, 148, 170, 176 and 177 would clearly prove that the contention of the petitioner is true and it was with a view to destroy the evidence, liquidated the assailants an act punishable under section 201 IPC.
17. When the respondents have stated that an investigation was ordered by CB-CID) immediately and was taken up by them within a few hours after the occurrence, and instead of lodging the F.I.R., by the person who gave the first information to the C.I. about the incident, the C.I. himself lodged the F.I.R. after 15 hours, it is reason to conclude that the State police which includes CB-CD, will not be able to conduct the enquiry impartially.
18. These are affirmed facts by the petitioner in his writ petition and not allegations.
19. Here also the Hon. Justice has erred in concluding that these facts have no bearing onthe investigation regarding the killing of persons and injuring two others.
20. When the Government of Andhra Pradesh have exempted all the trusts in the name of Satya Sai Baba from the provisions of sections 15, 18, 19, 21, 24, 28, 29, 35, 37, 39, 40, 57, 58, 59, 60 to 65, 72, 73, 79, 80, 87, 134, 135, 138, 139, 145 and 146 of the Endowments Act, so also other State Governments and thus the Trusts have lost their public and charitable character when the trustees are exempted from government interferences (15); qualifications and disqualifications of the trustees (18 & 19); cessation of trusteeship on absence from the meetings of the board of trustees (21); duties of the trustees (24); Suspension, removal or dismissal of trustee (28); Appointment and duties of executive officer (29); appointment of office holders and servants etc. (35); Punishment of officeholders and servants (37); Transfer of office holders and servants (39); Office holders and servants not to be in possession of jewels etc., except under condition (40); Budget of charitable or religious institution or endowment (57); Accounts & Audit (58); Authority to whom audit report is to be submitted (59); Contents of audit report (60); Rectification of defects detected in audit report etc. (61); Rectification of defects detected by Commissioner (62); Agency to audit accounts (63);Duty of trustee to give all assistance and facilities to auditors (64); Liability of institution or endowment & dharmadayam to pay annual contribution and audit fees (65); Utilisation of surplus funds (72); Determination and application of properties and funds of defunct institution or endowment (73); Prohibition of purchase of immovable property in certain cases (79); Alienation of immovable property (80); Power of Deputy commissioner to decide certain disputes and matters (87); Trustee not to lend or borrow money without sanction (134); Dissolution of the board of trustee (135); Public officer furnish copies or extracts from certain documents (138); Power to enter and inspect (139); Adoption or amalgamation of institutions and endowments (145); Constitution of renovation committee and its liability (146).
It is necessary that an impartial investigation should be conduced as to how Satya Sai Baba has amassed a financial empire worth Rs.6,000 crores and because of no governmental control over the proper utilization of the funds of the trusts it would be seen that an impartial investigation has to be conducted as to how he has amassed such huge wealth. This wealth certainly has a bearing on the six murders in Satya Sai Baba's bed room.
21. Hon. Justice has gone wrong in coming to this conclusion. As mentioned above, it is not an extraneous matter when the State and Central governments are loosing taxes which these trusts according to Trust Act looses its charitable character because of the exemptions given to them from the operations of the Endowment Act under which these trusts are registered. It is this they are afraid of and are resisting CBI enquiry.
22. This is a biased conclusion. When Trusts registered in the name of Satya Sai Baba are enjoying the concessions of all taxes from the State and Central Governments, it is necessary to find whether they are really charitable in character.
23. When the governments have exempted the public officers to furnish copies of extracts from certain documents under Section 138 of the Endowments Act 1987, and the Hon. Justice very well knows that it is not possible for the petitioner to produce evidence, the Hon. Justice ought to have shown courage to order the production of all documents of the Trust in the name of Satya Sai Baba and made them public, as public trusts which enjoys all exemptions, any public the right to ask for copies of any document of the public trust and societies.
24. This is true and the Hon. Justice can verify it from the records of the Government Civil Hospital, Penukonda and the Puttaparthi police station..25.This is not an allegation as believed by the Hon. Justice, but a fact which can be verified from the records of the Government Civil Hospital, Penukonda and the police station Puttaparthi.
26. This is true and one of the incidents when a murder was filed as suicide was reported in May 1988 with the photograph of the dead youth from burns. Alike The students even conducted Dharma before the police station for impartial investigation. The copy of the post-mortem and the F.I.R etc., was refused to the parents.
Amongst the youths who were murdered in Satya Sai Baba's bed room, there are students from the educational institutions run by Satya Sai Baba. The Hon. Judge did not question the respondents as to what they were doing in Satya Sai Baba's bedroom nor did the CB-CD question Satya Sai Baba and collect details.
The police report for protection of Satya Sai Baba clearly mentions in paragraph 7 that it is learnt that a large number of devotees both students of the Puttaparthi educational institutions and others are allowed to sleep in the ashram complex during night. The CB-CD did not question Satya Sai Baba as to how Anil Patley, Sai Kumar Mahajan and Subbappayya were found in his apartment.
27. The Petitioner has filed 186 newspaper clippings and the Hon. Justice wrongly believes that the petitioner can get the records from the police stations and the Government Civil Hospitals. It is surprising that when the petitioner had under oath stated the above facts, and the respondents did not dare to counter them through an affidavit, the Hon. Justice did not find it necessary to order the seizure of the police station and Government Civil hospital records and produced before him, for reasons best known to him.
28. The Hon. Justice has gone wrong in his finding fault with the petitioner. knowing very well that a citizen like the petitioner cannot do so.
29. Hon. Judge erred when stating that they are mere allegations. They are statements made in an affidavit which can be verified.
30 & 31. It is true that the Writ Petition and Writ appeal were dismissed. These judgments were based on the beliefs of the Hon. Judges that Satya Sai Baba materializes gold from air in split second by his spiritual powers. The Hon. Justices did not show the courage of verifying their belief.
32. It is true.
33. The petitioner chose this incident because a sitting judge of the Supreme Court cannot say that he did not know law.
34. Though the W.P. and W.A. were dismissed because of the blind beliefs of the Hon. Justices in miracles the petitioner had filed stills from the video taken of the marriage of the daughter of the then sitting judge of the Supreme Court. The Hon. Justices for reasons best known to them did not order the video cassette to be produced in the court and cared to see it when he would have found that the Hon. Justice's daughter being seated, saw the trick behind the materialization of the gold and told it to her father at the time of the reception.
35. The statements made by the petitioner in his affidavit are irrelevant allegations as believed by the Hon. Justice. Only if he had the courage to order the records, he would have found that the affidavit was true. That was why the respondents did not dare to file counter affidavits, very well-knowing that contempt of court action would be taken against them if they contradicted anything in the affidavit of the petitioner. Every statement about the ashram and Satya Sai Baba in the petitioner's affidavit has a bearing also on the 6 murders on 6.6.1993.
The F.I.R. states that it was an attempt on the life of Satya Sai Baba. The news in the Doordarshan and A.I.R. says it was as attempt on the life of Satya Sai Baba. The police report to protect Satya Sai Baba in the very beginning itself states as follows:
"Any person who by virtue of his social or political or religious standing or by virtue of the office he occupies or by the virtue of the prevailing circumstances becomes so important that any threat to him would cause embarrassment to the Government in power or cause public disorder" is to be classified as a VIP requiring security. Technically speaking, Sri Satya Sai Baba is a VIP in whose case it would be prudent to presume that he faces threat to his life and in the light of the incident that occurred on 6.6.1993 it would be necessary to provide security to him at least till such time as the case of attempt on his life is finalized.
But on 10.6.1993 after the visit of the Union Home Minister S.B. Chavan to Puttaparthi, the Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police T.S. Rao took the stand that there was nothing so far in the investigation to prove that Sunday's incident was an attempt on the life of Sri Sai Baba, nor, the police have any reason to believe otherwise.
36. The Writ petition filed is not only for an impartial investigation against the 6 murders on 6.6.1993 in Satya Sai Baba's bedroom but also on on other facts as mentioned in the affidavit without which the motive behind the 6 murders will not be known. The Hon. Justice without calling for records has only erred in stating that the the statements in the petitioner's affidavit are imaginary allegations.
If the Hon. Justice truthfully believes that the statements in petitioner's affidavits are imaginary allegations, the petitioner requests the respondents and the Hon. Justice to take contempt of Court action against him.
37. If the Hon. Justice had only acted like the Supreme Court judges Kuldip Singh and S.C. Agrawal by ordering the seizure of all the records and the video cassette of the inauguration of Kalyana Mandapam on 29.8.1992, and gone through them, he would have found that Satya Sai Baba was cheating his devotees through tricks claiming them to be his miraculous powers. He would have then found that the petitioner's affidavit was absolutely true and that it is necessary that an impartal enquiry should be conducted, about the activities of the ashram and the murders. The reason why the Hon. Justice is silent over the Supreme Court order in 93(4) Scale which was filed by the petitioner at the time of argument and why he did not proceed the way the Supreme Court judges proceeded on the basis of a newspaper report inthe Tribune of 1.11.1993 has not been explained by him in the judgment.
38 & 39.If this conclusion of the Hon. Justice is true, I am wondering why he has not taken any contempt of Court action against the petitioner? I am wondering why he came to this conclusion without calling for the records when court is a court of records and when judgment should not be based on one's beliefs. It is necessary when a petitioner files a false affidavit solely intended to denigrate the image and defame the respondents that the Court should take contempt of court action against the person so that people would hesitate to file such false affidavits.
40 & 41. These are not allegations, but a fact. If the Hon. Justice had perused the investigation file, he would have seen that this statement was true, or call for the press release by the police of that day. On page 28 of the judgment, the Hon. Justice has stated that he has perused the record investigation If this be true, and if the respondents have produced the complete records of the investigation, he would have found that on 8th he CBID had recovered them. Very well knowing that the investigation such cases has to be done by the CBI and not CB-CID, the Hon. Justice is vague in this matter, and feels it is not proper for him to go into this act in the writ petition. He forgets that if State police had properly looked into the security of the V.I.P.'s who were to visit the ashram on 8th, there would not have been this incident on 6.6.1993.
42. It is not an allegation, but a fact if the Hon. Justice has perused the records of the investigations as stated in the judgment he would have concluded that it is true.
43. In l3(i) of the petition, the petitioner has very clearly explained. If the Hon. Justice has really perused the records of investigation he would have noted that the C.I. received the first information from the people on the road crying and rushing to the ashram "that some people had attacked Swami Mandir to kill Baba." When the Hon. Justice and the police very well know that public are not allowed into the ashram complex at night, this information ought to have been from someone in the ashram. So the Station House Officer ought to have registered this information as F.I.R.
Again, in the F.I.R. lodged by the C.I., he states that he learnt from the ashram that a group of people went to mandir and four assailants namely S. Suresh Kumar, Jagannatham, K. Sai Ram and Suresh Shantharam Prabhu alias Prabhu entered into Baba's private room on the pretext of handing over a telegram. When disciples namely Radhakrishna, Anil Patley, Vishnu Batt and Sai Kumar Mahajan present in the said room, objected them the assailants attacked and stabbed them indiscriminately with dagger. "They then went to upstairs to do away Swami."
While this was the first information on the incident, the police without registering it, registered a statement of the C.I. as the F.I.R. which was not an F.I.R but what police did after receiving the first information.
If the Hon. Justice has really perused the investigation record he would have found that the original first information got by the police is in the F.I.R lodged by the C.I. as mentioned above. Suppressing the information of the persons who gave this first information, and without registering this first information the statement of the C.I. was registered as F.I.R.
44. The first information received by the police is already there in the F.I.R. lodged by the C.I. and he has suppressed the descriptive particulars of the persons who gave him the above mentioned first information.
45. If one had perused the l.R lodged by the C.I. it is very clear that the police arrived at the scene after receiving information and the said information the police received at the first instance of the commission of a cognizable offence which is the F.I.R. has been suppressed and the same has been substituted by the second information emanating from the station house office, and The Hon. Justice for reasons best to him hassimply ignored this and come to wrong conclusion.
46. This is not an allegation. The respondents have already stated in their reply argument that the investigation has come to the final stage. Maybe as the Hon. Justice had perused the investigation file he has found that the investigation is still pending, while the respondents state that they are complete.
47. The Hon. Justice who has gone through the investigation file conveniently keeps silent as to when the statement under 161 Cr. P.C. was recorded by the CB-CID and was it according to law.,
48. The Hon. Justice is silent as to when the statement was recorded and whether the statement is quite contrary to the F.I.R filed. This is not an allegation but a statement made in an affidavit.
49. It was based on the press conference held by the Union and State Home Ministers published by the newspapers.
50. Even in spite of the fact that the petitioner had filed 186 pages of newspaper reports, it is unfortunate that the Hon. Justice had made such an allegation and when these news paper reports have not been contradicted by them.
51. It is imfortunate that the Hon. Justice thinks that this statement made in the affidavit is from imagination.
52. On page 16 of the judgement the Hon. Justice himself states that on the other hand, the learned Advocate General as well as the learned standing counsel for the Central government resisting the writ petition proves beyond doubt that the contention of the petitioner is true. The newspaper reports filed which have not been contradicted by them proves that the statement of the petitioner in the affidavit is true.
53. This proves that CB-CD is under A.P. Police Act and a part of the State Police.
54.The Hon. Justice is silent as to when exactly the D.S.P. C.I.D. Tirupathi was handed over the case diary and other relevant records and when exactly the District police stopped investigating the case.
55. The press reports based on the interviews with the police officials and their press release gives another story as found in the annexes filed by the petitioner of the press clippings.
If this is true, the respondents would have produced the 2 rolls off film taken of the incident on 6.6.1993 and the positives made from them which was seized by the Superintendent of Police, Ananthapur Mr. K.V Reddy from the photographers when the newspapers published some of these photographs. Then the Hon. Justice would have seen the photographs wherein huge quantity of Rs.500/- currency bundles and foreign currency was found strewn all over one room. As the Hon. Justice does not mention anything about these photographs it is to be concluded that the CB-CD has not produced these photograph and their negative before the Hon. Justice. This would mean that the respondents have suppressed this vital photographs from the Hon. Justice.
56. It is not necessary to mention CB-CID as they are part of the State Police.
57. It is true. No action was taken until the WP. was filed.
58. It is surprising that the Hon. Justice is coming to conclusion on his presumption without even putting a question at the time of arguments. He is ignoring the fact that CB-CID is a part of the State Police.
59. If the respondents have produced before the Hon. Justice all the records of the investigation, he would have noted that respondents 4 and 5 are actively participating in the investigation. The newspaper reports filed along with the WP. also says so. The respondents also have not contradicted them by filing a counter affidavit.
60. If the Hon. Justice had only gone through the reports in the newspapers and ordered the press releases by the State Government and the police, he would have found that his presumptions are baseless.
61. If the Hon. Justice perused the photographs on pages 136, 146, 147, 148, 170, l76 and 177 and the 2 rolls of films and the positive prints of these films he would have found that the statement of the petitioner in the affidavit is absolutely true and is tenable. If the respondents have not produced this which is a part of the investigation file, they have suppressed from the Hon. Justice a substantial evidence.
62. The Hon. Justice has conveniently forgotten to mention as to when they were arrested. If he had done so, he would have found that the State police were forced to do so to get the police acquitted on technical grounds as per police Act.
63. When the Hon. Justice has mentioned that the C.I. approached the Hon. High Court for anticipatory bail, he is silent on the fact that the CB-CD after arrest allowed him to escape and file the W.P. for anticipatory bail.
64. Here also he is silent as to when they were arrested.
65. The very fact that the C.B. CID acted only after the petitioner filed the Writ petition proves that the apprehension of the petitioner is correct.
66. When the respondents in their argument have stated that the investigation is completed and they had produced the investigation records, does it mean that the investigation is not yet complete even after 9 months and 9 days of the murder incident? The Hon. Justice is silent whether in the investigation file he had found the charge sheet? It is surprising, that without F.I.R. and charge sheet the alleged assailants and the police were arrested.
67. If the investigation has come to a final stage as stated by the respondents in their argument then Hon. Justice would have found that even a charge sheet has not been filed till 15.3.1994 and so ought to have accepted the statement of the petitioner in the affidavit.
68. The Hon. Justice has conveniently not mentioned as to when the magisterial enquiry was ordered, and when, in which all newspapers and what was the wide publicity made and whether the publicity was given in the Coimbatore edition of the national newspapers. He is also silent as to what was the report submitted. If he had perused the investigation records he also would have found that the enquiry itself was a farce and no witnesses turned out and the report as also been rejected. The Sub-divisional magistrate also failed to inform the petitioner for the enquiry nor the respondents.
69. The intention of the petitioner is to bring out the truth and see that the Indian Constitution and laws made under it are supreme and whatever may be the influence of a person, he is not above the law.
70.The view expressed by the Hon. Justice is not based on facts when he failed to call for the video cassette from the Director, Doordarshan, records from the Government Civil Hospital, Penukonda and the Police Station, Puttaparthi the press releases the police and the Government regarding the 6 murders, the records from the Government exempting the Satya Trusts from all taxes, the records in the Endowment Board filed by all the trusts in the name of Satya Sai Baba registered with them at Anantapur, the 2 rolls of films and their positive prints so also the video film taken of the incident of murder etc., as was done by the Hon. Supreme Court in 1993 (4) Scale.
71. The Hon. Justice has not explained what were the circumstances which lends support to his view.
72. The Hon. Justice has not verified from the relations whether their statements published in the newspapers were true. The Hon. Justice cannot ignore the press statements made by the relatives only because in certain cases the relatives may not come forward to claim the dead bodies, unless he verifies whether in this case it is true.
73. It is the case of
the petitioner as mentioned in paragraph 13 (vi) and grounds (f) that
the police did not inform the relatives of the incidents and they did not also
hand over the dead bodies even in spite of the fact that the claim as made by
them after knowing the incident on 8th from the
74.The petitioner has not alleged anyhere in the writ petition that there was no post-mortem conducted on some dead bodies. This proves that the Hon. Justice has not applied his mind while passing the judgment.
75. The Hon. Justice carefully hides the fact that the CB-CD is a part of the State Police and not an independent investigating agency, functioning under the constituyion.
76. When the respondents have not dared to file their counter affidavit though they took time for the same, the Hon. Justice ought to have accepted the petitioner's affidavit as true and if he was not satisfied, he ought to have called for the records as mentioned in No.70 of the comments instead of stating that there are no merits in this writ petition and there is no truth or substance in the allegations as disclosed in the writ petition. If the Hon. Justice really believes it to be so, the petitioner is wondering why no contempt of court action was taken against the petitioner.
77. Though the respondents have stated that the investigation has come to the final stage, if the petitioner has to believe the Hon. Justice when he states "that the investigation now in progress" then he ought to have held that the investigations is proceeding under bias or the result of partiality
78. This is not true as the Hon. Justice has completely ignored the petitioner's affidavit and the argument on behalf of the petitioner.
79. The Hon. Justice has ignored the affidavit and the 186 pages of newspaper clippings and the argument when he says that there are no instances brought to his notice by which even a genuine doubt or apprehension can arise to the credibility of the investigation under progress. The judgment in the Cr. Case No. 25/93 in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate of 1st Class, Penukonda, the judgment in Cr. R.P26/93 in the court of the Sessions Judge, Ananthapur, and the judgment in Criminal Petition No.1801/93 in the High Court of Judicature A.P. Hyderabad, which has been perused by the Hon. Justice in the investigation records produced by the Respondents would have amply proved the farce played by the State police CB-CID. The very fact that the Superintendent of Police K.V. Reddy seized the film rolls, photographs and the video film and the plastering of the walls proves that CB-CID had no voice in the investigation.
80. Though it is not every case in which subordinate police officers. are involved the investigation by the superior police officer can be doubted. This means that there are cases where it can be doubted. And this is one of the cases which should be doubted as mentioned above.
81. But there are instances other wise also.
82. The Hon. Justice has not informed what were the records of the investigation he had perused. If he had perused all the records of the investigation, he would not have come to this conclusion.
83. It is true that the petitioners counsel had drawn the attention to some of the newspaper clippings.
84. It is true some of this relates to the motive for the killings.
85. These doubts were based because of the way in which the investigations were proceeding and the exemption given to the trusts by the Endowment Board as mentioned in Comments 20 which takes away the public and charitable character of the Trusts registered in the name of SATHYA Sai Baba and there is no governmental control.
86. These statements cannot be doubted as these have not been contradicted by the respective people.
87. The Hon. Justice could have verified whether it was true when he has perused the investigation records and found it correct.
88. This also
could have been verified and found correct.
89. If the Hon. Justice had perused the records, he would not have called them opinion.
90. They are not opinions but statements made by them.
91. This report is also not an opinion, but the statement of the police.
92. The Hon. Justice could have verified the same and found that this report was absolutely true. Why the Hon. Justice did not do it? He has not explained why.
93. The judgment and the Hon. Justice's argument proves that the ultimate motive was to dismiss the petition.
94. It is
surprising that after going through the writ petition and the annexes, the
Hon. Justice found that the reports in the newspapers do not cast any slur
either on the competency of fairness of the on going investigation which
according to the respondents has come to a final
95. The judge would not have dismissed the petition if he had the courage to proceed according to the principles laid in the Supreme Court Order in 1993(4) Scale. Then why did the Hon. Justice dismiss the petition? If the Hon. Justice replies to these comments made, it will be possible to know why he dismissed it. I do not want to presume anything. I am sending a copy of this comments to the Hon. Justice Ramakrishnam Raju, and would await his explanation.
96. I am happy that there are Hon. Judges who have proclaimed "if the allegations in the news item are correct, then it is the most heinous offence against the penal laws of the country as well as humanity" and acted instantly and speedily and found that the news report was true instead of ignoring them as Hon. Justice Ramakrishnam Raju had done.
97. The writ petition was for an impartial investigation by the CBI and not a proof for anything. If the Hon. Justice wanted the petitioner to prove his statement, in the affidavit, he would have done so, if the Hon. Justice empowered him with the powers to seize and produce the necessary records wanted to prove that his statement in the affidavit was absolutely true. Even if he had acted the way the Supreme Court Judges acted in 1993 (4) Scale, he would have found that the affidavit of the petitioner was absolutely true and an impartial investigation by the CBI was necessary.