Last updated on 20th Jan. 2019
This post is based on a recent comment response I made on Facebook elsewhere in the context of a suggestion made by somebody that a particular SSSCT trustee should lead a delegation to Muddenahalli and demand explanation from them for setting up their cult organization.
From my perspective, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) is a body of nine trustees. I think it is inappropriate to talk about any particular trustee, in this regard. What should be discussed is the action of the body of SSSCT as a whole.
So should SSSCT as a body, "COME TO THE FRONT AND LEAD A DELEGATION TO MHALLI (group based in Muddenahalli, Karnataka, India) AND DEMAND EXPLANATION FOR SETTING UP A CULT ORGANIZATION"?
What power does SSSCT have over Muddenahalli group for Muddenahalli group to entertain such a demand for explanation? Muddenahalli group may use such a visit by SSSCT to humiliate them as revenge for the criticism SSSCT has made against them. If Muddenahalli group was interested in having talks with SSSCT to resolve this major divisive problem and get united with official Sathya Sai orgns and institutions, they surely could have approached SSSCT. They want to have their own show with the spiritual fraud Madhusudan Rao Naidu being their cash cow. Why will they want to give up that cash cow and unite with official Sai orgn. which will ask them to first stop Madhusudan Rao Naidu spiritual fraud?
As I understand it, in such power and authority matters, SSSCT is a charitable trust organization like Shirdi Sai Sansthan (official Shirdi Sai Baba temple orgn.) - that's it. For us devotees of Sathya Sai, we may give a lot of value to words of SSSCT. But that is limited to us devotees of Sathya Sai. SSSCT's power and authority is over the private institutions it manages, including Prasanthi Nilayam. It does not extend to governance and power and authority in the whole state of Andhra Pradesh let alone the state of Karnataka which is where Muddenahalli group is based.
Power and authority in such matters is vested in the Hon'ble Chief Minister of the concerned state who has to act within the laws of the state and country. The Hon'ble High Court of that state is the topmost body in the state to which an Indian citizen or Indian trust like Muddenahalli trust can go to, to seek relief from any illegal action taken by the state government against them, with the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India acting as a body for appeal against verdict of the High Court. That's it, I think. Nobody else has the authority. SSSCT trustees have no authority over Muddenahalli group, including over Muddenahalli group's Loka Seva Trust, as things stand now (the court case against Loka Seva Trust deed amendments making it a Muddenahalli group controlled trust has yet to be decided).
Why have Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam activists of various countries of the world not LED A DELEGATION TO MHALLI group events in their country where Madhusudan Naidu and Narasimhamurthy were present, AND DEMANDED EXPLANATION FOR SETTING UP A CULT ORGANIZATION? I think they have not done so because they would have felt that they did not have power & authority to force a proper explanation from Muddenahalli group in their country.
[Note that I know of at least two cases where an individual Prasanthi Nilayam supporter/activist (different individual in the two cases) attended a Muddenahalli group event in their country, once in USA and once in UK, and demanded an explanation from Muddenahalli group for their activities or protested about Muddenahalli group claims and/or activities. But it was an individual action and not a group delegation action. While one appreciates the courage of these individuals for these actions, I think it should also be said that these individual actions did not seem to have any significant negative impact on Muddenahalli group activities in the respective country.]
Similar to what I have mentioned in above two paragraphs, I think SSSCT trustees, either individually or as leader(s) of a delegation OR as a group of trustees, going to Muddenahalli group to demand an explanation from them is not a good idea as SSSCT has no authority over Muddenahalli group and its leaders like Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Naidu.
Given below are my comments on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2395100770706486, associated with this blog post:
In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited): --Name-snipped-- - I don't think I know the God fraud statute you are referring to. Note that cases of so-called spiritual gurus/holy men extracting money from gullible Indians by making false promise of some sort like cure of disease or some material problem of theirs getting solved, is different. In such scenarios, the person who paid the money and did not get the promised outcome can go to the police and file a cheating complaint. Indian Penal Code Section 420 is, I think, the key section that deals with cheating cases: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_420_of_the_Indian_Penal_Code. Every once in a while, we read reports in Indian newspapers about some so-called spiritual guru or holy man, being arrested by the police ****based on complaint made by somebody who paid them money and was cheated****. I don't think we have had any such cheating police complaint made against Madhusudan Naidu.
Freedom of religion is a very important concept in many democratic countries of the world. I think that is why Madhusudan Naidu is able to freely travel and openly make his false claims not only all over India but in many other countries of the world.
However, my personal view is that the identity theft court case (legal suit) possibility is a good one. But, for reasons best known to them, none of the official Sai orgns/institutions have made a legal challenge on identity theft to Madhusudan Naidu ***anywhere in the world***. Note that even Sathya Sai orgn. USA could file an identity theft case against Madhusudan Naidu when he visits USA claiming to speak Sathya Sai's words.
It would be great if SSSCT or some country's Sai orgn do that. But they haven't so far. We have to live with that, I think.
In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited): Noted your responses --name-snipped--. Thanks.
IPC 416 - Cheating by personation seems to be similar to Identity Theft. I think there is a new law for Identity Theft as I see references to it but am not sure. .. 423 may not apply to Madhusudan Naidu as it deals with transfer deed.
About devotees who say they were cheated by Madhu or Muddenahalli group: Well, they may feel that way. But what is required I think is a clear case of promise made for money donated which was not fulfilled. That's when the police may accept it as a criminal complaint. I don't think any such police complaints have been made in India against Madhusudan.
I am told that one person who had donated some money in 2011 or 2012 to Narasimhamurthy, and then felt cheated, explored the possibility of police complaint. But the money donated was used to construct a school as promised, I believe. So there was no grounds for police complaint.
So I am afraid, to the best of my knowledge, in India nobody who feels cheated ***and is prepared to make a police complaint***, has had proper grounds to make a cheating police complaint against Madhusudan or Muddenahalli group.
In response to comment "423 was about Narasimhamurthy.", I wrote (slightly edited): --Name-snipped-- Noted. Yes, that seems to apply given what we have been told by SSSCT about fraudulent amendment of Loka Seva Trust deed.
In response to comment, "Cheat by personation:
"A" cheats by pretending to be "B" who is deceased. "A" cheats by personation." I wrote (slightly edited): Good find. I think that seems to be the right IPC section to legally challenge Madhusudan.
As I looked up Identity Theft law in India, the results I am getting are for cyber identity theft which
is covered under some new law for IT (Information Technology).
So maybe the right legal words to use in context of Madhusudan case is IPC Section 416, "Cheating by personation". Thanks for digging this up.
Perhaps the legal brains in Sai orgn. already know all this - there are criminal lawyers (Shri Nimish Pandya) and at least one former High Court judge in the top echelons of Sai orgn/SSSCT in India. They would surely know these sections well. But they have stayed silent on this matter and SSSCT/Sai orgn. has NOT filed a "Cheating by Personation" case against Madhusudan. Why? I have no idea.
In response to comment, "Perhaps they had to wait until he actually claimed he was Sai Baba. Otherwise he was just "channeling" his spirit. Now it's a whole new ball game. Especially since he's using Sai Baba to get donations.", I wrote (slightly edited): Hmm. That's an interesting point. Yes, now Madhusudan claims that he is Sathya Sai Baba. It seems to me that legally it would make it a different ball game.