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September 15, 2010 / indian

Darker side of Hindu Guru’s

Coordinates of location (Haridwar, Uttaranchal...

Image via Wikipedia

New Delhi: Spiritual gurus are a dime a dozen in this country of god- fearing citizens. But most of us aren’t aware of their magical powers. An undercover operation by Aaj Tak has managed to capture the skills of some of these babas and the solutions they provide, of course, for a fee.

Sheltering fugitives from the law, laundering money, ‘ arranging’ for government contracts, solving your financial woes or even bumping off a pesky blackmailer — all this is a day’s work for these ‘ holy’ men.

Take Asaram Bapu. A religious preacher who has over 350 ashrams across the country and lakhs of devotees, Asaram gave shelter to a woman who claimed to have committed a fraud in the US and fled the country.

The preacher was approached by the undercover team on June 3 at his sprawling ashram in Haridwar. The reporters claimed to be a business group who wanted to set up a Vedic institute in Noida in partnership with him.

Our reporters told Asaram that a friend of theirs, Poonam Khanna, had committed financial fraud in the US and had fled to India. The FBI was looking for her and the ‘ businessmen’ wanted a place for her to hide.

When the woman posing as Poonam met the preacher, he assured her that she was safe at his ashram. When Poonam wasn’t convinced, Asaram boasted: ” Even dacoits from Chambal and people who have murdered policemen have come to me… the police dare not tell me to send them out of my ashram.” He also showed interest in finding out the magnitude of the fraud and advised her on how to turn the ‘ black money’ white.

Money laundering, however, seemed to be the domain of Sudhanshu Maharaj, a wellknown name in north India.

The undercover team visited his Najafgarh ashram several times posing as businessmen.

He finally met the team at his Manali ashram. When the team hinted that they had black money stashed away in Mauritius, Sudhanshu offered to ” find a way to route the funds”. When asked how he would transform black money to white, he said: ” You’ll be told of the methods to whatever is required whenever necessary.” Maharishi Swami Sumananand Saraswati talked of ‘ arranging’ for government contracts for a commission. Our team met the swami at an army officer’s bungalow in Delhi Cant.

Posing as contractors of a power project, the undercover team asked for his help to acquire a power project in Uttarakhand.

He assured to get us the project.

” The CM, the chief secretary, the power secretary and the power minister need to be told,” he said, asking our team to prepare the tender documents.

For a tender worth Rs 150 crore, the commission would be 10- 20 per cent, he said. For himself, he wanted one per cent initially and said the rest would be settled later. He also demanded a black car with tinted windows, a ” wellbuilt” driver, and a licensed Webley pistol.

Sumananand, too, offered Poonam shelter.

The team’s next port of call was the tantrik Bhairavananda, better known as Mahakaal. He boasted of links with former prime ministers and presidents.

Our team claimed they were a business family and that a senior employee had turned against them. We also told him that the man called Satyendra Singh had some top secret documents in his possession and was using them for blackmail.

” I don’t hurt anybody physically,” Mahakaal said. But he suggested they could die in an accident. It would not attract a murder charge, he suggested.

He also offered to perform tantrik rituals for Singh’s death.

For Rs 10- 15 lakh, Saturn devotee Daati Maharaj, or Mahamandaleshwar Madan Maharaj Rajasthani, offered the team a rudraksh string, a bangle and a Shani statue to overcome financial crisis and also promised a hydel project.-MT

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