under the carpet
The murder attempt on the life of Sai Baba on 6 June, 1993, made
international news. Six people died in the skirmish - -two killed by
the assailants and four shot dead at point-blank range by the local
The godman's valet, Radhakrishna Menon, and Sai Kumar Mahajan, a seva
dal volunteer, were killed while trying to prevent the armed miscreants
from entering the godman's chamber. The attackers - commerce students
E.K. Suresh Kumar and K. Sai Kumar, Suresh Shantaram Pra-bhu, a marine
engineer, and N. Jagan-nadh- were killed in cold blood by the police
inside the godman's ornate bedroom. And Vijay Shantaram Prabhu and B.
Ravindra, who had masterminded the attack and managed to flee, were
caught near Nagpur after a month-long manhunt.
Today, that shocking incident, which shook the Baba's devotees in India
and 137 other countries, is totally forgotten. Nobody wants to talk
about it and the police have dropped the investigations. Those charged
with the crime have been set free on bail.
Even when the probe was on, the administration and the investigating
agencies took extraordinary care to see that the Sai Baba's name did
not crop up in connection with the case. "There was no murder bid
on my life," the godman said later, enabling the sleuths to wind
up the case. It is believed that the Baba's devotees in the police,
the judiciary and in the state and central governments moved heaven
and earth to hush up the incident.
But even the inconclusive probe had brought to light some gross irregularities
at Prashanti Nilayam, the Baba's central headquarters. Rampant groupism,
mafia-style operations to browbeat dissenters, land deals all over the
country entered into in the name of the Baba, infighting amongst the
members of the central trust, monetary transactions from more than 150
accounts of the trust and allied educational and other organisations,
and the tyrannical rule of the godman's brother Janakiramaiah were revealed.
Even as the preliminary reports were being prepared, influential officials
in the Andhra Pradesh Police and the home ministry began to meddle with
the investigations. Ramachandraiah and Gopalakrishna Raju, the two senior
police officials probing the case, were taken off the job and posted
Assailants Prabhu and Ravindra maintain that their intentions were to
inform the godman about the "goings-on in the Prashanti Nilayam".
"We wanted to take over the administration of the ashram from the
clutches of these operators and hand it back to the Sathya Sai Baba,"
is how they have been quoted in the police records.
The attempt on Sai Baba's life is believed to have been a fallout of
the infighting among the trustees over the control of the assets. But
since the case is no longer a priority, the actual conspiracy remains
shrouded in a mystery.
The probe into the attempt on Sai Baba 's life has