Friday, May 22, 2009

Cold Blooded Murder



Excerpted from Wikipedia:

On 6 June 1993, six deaths happened in the controversial Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba's ashram - Prashanthi Nilayam. Four devotees, aged between 25 and 40 years and all resident in the ashram, went to Sai Baba's residence armed with knives.[1][2] As they approached they were stopped by four of Sai Baba's attendants.[2] In the struggle that followed, two of his attendants were killed and the other two injured.[2] Hearing the commotion Sai Baba escaped through a back stairway and raised the alarm.[1][2] The assailants purportedly ran and locked themselves up in sai baba's bedroom. What followed is highly disputed. The police version claimed that when the room was opened the boys charged at the police with daggers so they were all shot dead. [2] The police stated that they were charged at by the men, who were subsequently shot by the police.[2] Others, including V.P.B. Nair(Former Secretary to the Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh), Sanal Edamaruku, and Basava Premanand, state the cornered assailants were deliberately shot at and that political influence of Sai Baba kept the investigations from proceeding.[1]

Reports and analysis

Images of the four purported assailants. All four were long-term devotees serving Baba at his ashram.

The police version claimed that when the purported assailants, who had locked themselves in a room, charged at the police with daggers so they were all shot dead. A Central Investigation Department report stated that the official police report is riddled with lies and inconsistencies.[1] V.P.B. Nair, Former Secretary to the Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh, who comes from a police background, states that the police report was riddled with lies and that the killing of the four boys were"absolute cold-blooded murder" . He opines that two or three daggers could have been no match for armed police and the story of all four boys being shot-dead in self-defense seems far-fetched. .[1] Analysts point out that for armed police to disarm the assailants would have been elementary: "the youths could have been disarmed or - at worst - shot to disable them, if they had actually threatened the police"[3]

Another witness to the murders was a 14 year old boy 'Subbapayya' who happened to be in Baba's room when the assailants entered. The Indian Express (13-6-1993) states that according to police reports, the boy, in his early teens, was in Sai Baba's room when the assailants knocked saying there was a telegram for Sai Baba and he opened the door. They attempted to attack him, but the dagger only penetrated his shirt and he escaped unharmed. He bolted the door and alerted Baba to the impending danger. However, writes the Express, "what sounds illogical is that if Subbappayya had closed the door and bolted it from behind, how could the alleged assailants enter Baba's personal chambers after attacking the four guards on the ground floor? There are no indications of the alleged assailants or somebody applying pressure on the doors to open them. The police have taken Subbapayya's torn shirt into their possession... The investigating officers are tight-lipped to the question as to how the assailants could get into Baba's chamber."[4] The CID interrogated Subbappayya twice, despite the ashram authorities demanding they present a valid authority to do so. [5]

Analysts such as Basava Premanand also state that the there too many inconsistencies in the official story. All four boys had been shot at several times - which would be absolutely unnecessary if the purpose were to just disarm them. He notes that abrasions and marks apparently inflicted by beating were found on the boy's bodies which are also inconsistent with the initial police reports. One of the boys, Jagganatham had been shot through the palm and two places in the chest at close range. Another of the purported assailants, Suresh Kumar, had been shot in the left eye( to the brain ), right thigh and left wrist. [6]

All four purported assailants were ex-students of Sai School and close devotees of Sai Baba.[6] [7][8] R.R. Gogineni, The Former General Secretary of Rationalist Association of India, states that all the people killed were part of the inner circle of Sai Baba, and among them was Radha Krishna Menon,the personal assistant who had apparently been caught on video "passing the necklace clandestinely to Baba."[9]

British Broadcasting Corporation's investigative journalist Tanya Dutta states, in the BBC documentary "The Secret Swami": "Some police officers were arrested but never charged. The case was eventually dropped. Sai Baba has always had a close relationship with the police. Even today, senior officers are special guests at the Ashram. With friends in such high places Sai Baba seems to be untouchable. Any attempt to investigate the goings-on at his Ashram - even, murder - appear doomed to failure. Critics say police connections ensured that Sai Baba wasn’t even interviewed, despite being one of the witnesses to the events of that night. Indian journalists were censored and their stories suppressed."[1]

Telly Gallagher, who had then been holding the position of "Central Coordinator of Sathya Sai Organisation, Australia" for three years, states : "It wasn’t until 1993, following the assassination attempt on Sai Baba, resulting in the murder of four college students and two assistants in the Mandir, that we[ he and family] made our last visit to India. The purpose of this visit was to find the reason why former students of Sai Baba’s college would want to kill him, particularly when they had been given a free education! The eye witness accounts were horrific! After bursting into the Mandir, four students found themselves trapped upstairs where Sai Baba was staying. Each was interrogated by police, then one at a time they were executed! The stench of death was everywhere. I made further inquiries about Sai Baba having sexual relations with college boys and male students - some of these as young as seven years of age - and whether this was the reason for former students wanting to kill him. I was told[ by those in the ashram ], to my horror, that this was an acceptable Indian practice! I felt sick, and just wanted to take my family and leave the ashram and India as quickly as possible." [8] Shortly thereafter, Gallagher resigned his position and quit the organization.[8]

Other analysts also opine that Sai Baba was directly involved in the murders. Sanal Edamaruku states the initial purpose of the boys trying get to Sai Baba was apparently to threaten him to stop abusing children or to murder him for doing so. Based on his research, he states: "A policeman who was working at the police station in Puttaparthi at that time told me that the boys had come there and said to Sai Baba:[words to the effect] 'Now there will be a bit of a stop to these sexual assaults on small boys.' Sai Baba then locked them in - he was angry – locked them in, went and pressed the alarm button for the police. The police came and they received the go-ahead from Sai Baba to take over the matter ..[Others] could hear the boys up in Sai Baba’s bedroom and living room for four hours. And later the police thought it so dangerous to let them out to the people who were waiting outside that they quite simply executed them after four hours of interrogation."[10]

The incident was widely published in the Indian press. Sai Baba, on July 31993, dismissed the reason as "jealousy" among his followers, without giving any more details or explanations of the events.[11] The former Secretary of the Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh, V.P.B. Nair, is now trying to re-investigate the case.[1]One of India's leading newspapers, The Hindu, reported that commenting upon the murders at the time, the International Chairman of Sai Baba’s Organization and a member of the Sathya Sai Central Trust, Indulal Shah, stated to pressmen: “…the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.” [12] Analysts such as Premanand have expressed their outrage at the fact that sai baba was never questioned or interviewed.[1]

Several sources, including a Central Bureau of Investigation and V.P.B. Nair (Former Secretary to the Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh) stated that the official police report contained inconsistencies.[1] R.R. Gogineni, the Former General Secretary of the Rationalist Association of India, stated that all the people killed were part of the inner circle of Sai Baba.[13]

A previous case of alleged murder related to the ashram was reported on 20 February, 1987, when the body of a student at a college run by the Sathya Sai Trust was found in a semi-charred state. While the case was dismissed[weasel words] as suicide[who?], Narendra Nayak, writing in the Indian Skeptics Journal, opined that the "powerful force around the Baba got the [police] inquiry turned into a farce." He notes that circumstantial evidence did not support suicide being a plausible cause of death.[14]


Analysts point to several discrepancies, including[89][82][5]:

  • The refusal of the ashram and Sathya Sai Central Trust authorities to lodge any complaint on the six murders in Baba’s quarters.
  • The video film and colour photo negatives and positives of the bodies and crimes scene asked for by the Puttaparthi police were later impounded by them. (However, despite this, colour prints have survived and have been published). The photos show a blood-stained lathi (police baton), pieces of rope in blood pools around two of the bodies, while the other two bodies have no blood around them.
  • Suppression of the news of the murders by the police for 12 hours, of the post mortem reports until after cremation, and of trying to refuse access to the press to the FIR (First Incident Report), which later proved to be wholly uncorroborated and obviously false on many specific counts. The mandatory magisterial probe and the CBI (Criminal Bureau of Investigation) reports were not completed and nothing of substance was made public, while the entire murder investigation was closed down by a confidential Government order, the remaining evidence of which is that no charges have been registered and no official report has ever appeared.
  • Refusal by Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi, ashram authorities to allow the two injured attendants (A. Patley and V. Bhatt) whom they kept under heavy security to give evidence (except in secret to the CID) and attempt - by removal of him to a secret location - to cover up the inexplicable and unexplained existence of a boy student in his early teens (Subbappaypa) in Sai Baba’s room who opened the door and gave him the alarm. The CID interrogated Subbappayya twice, despite the ashram authorities demanding they present a valid authority to do so.
  • Failure to secure material evidence such as bullets fired by the police, and the concealment of material evidence like photos of actual and alleged injuries, the bedding of Sai Baba and the four assailants who were to sleep on guard at the Puttaparthi mandir (Sai Baba’s residence where the events occurred) that night.
  • No explanation as to why the bodies of the guards killed were found on the ground floor, when the assailants had reportedly crept up to the 1st floor and knocked at Sai Baba’s door claiming to deliver a supposed telegram. Nor would the investigators explain how the alleged assailants entered Sai Baba’s quarters when the door had already been bolted from inside (by either Subbappayya or by Sai Baba).
  • Evidence from crime scene photographs, scars and beating marks evident on images of the dead bodies, along with blood stained batons and ropes seen in the images, according to analysts, strongly suggest that the boys had probably been tied up and beaten before being executed.[82]


References

  1. a b c d e f g h i BBC Documentary. Secret Swami
  2. a b c d e f Ruhela, Satya Pal (1997), Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the Press, 1972-1996, M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd., ISBN 9788175330412, pp. 106–107
  3. ^ Janakiramiah, Sai Baba’s blackmailing younger brother, Robert Priddy
  4. ^ Excerpt from the Indian Express. 13-6-1993.
  5. ^ Analysis of 1993 Murders Discrepancies by Robert Priddy
  6. a b Analysis by Bhasava Premanand of the 1993 Murders
  7. ^ The Findings. An investigative report and collection of incriminating testimony complied by The Baileys.
  8. a b c The Findings. Terry Gallagher - A Letter to the Baileys.
  9. ^ SATYA SAI BABA. Retelling The Story, Babu R.R. Gogineni Former General Secretary of Rationalist Association of India
  10. ^ Interview of Sana Edamaruku for Danish TV Documentary: "Seduced by Sai Baba"
  11. ^ Guru Purnima Discourse, July 31993, Keep Truth as Your Aim: Available online
  12. ^ Quoted from a report in India's leading Daily The Hindu, 10-6-1993
  13. ^ SATYA SAI BABA. Retelling The Story, Babu R.R. Gogineni Former General Secretary of Rationalist Association of India
  14. ^ Investigate the Murder at Satya Sai Baba's Collage, The Indian Skeptic.May 1998.] Image of body as carried on Indian Skeptic( warning: graphic images ).

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2 comments:

  1. Nice Article! Thanks for sharing with us.

    Hindu Saint

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sathya Sai Baba did all this? If this is the case with even Godmen or should I say Conmen, then there is no hope for humanity in this world. We as a species deserve extinction. We have degenerated enough.

    ReplyDelete