Excerpts from newspaper reports with information concerning the murders in Sai Baba's vicinity
t Prashanthi Nilayam of 6-6-1993

from the following journals in 1993/4: The Hindustan Times 9-6-1993 The Hindu 9-6-1993 The Hitavada, Nagpur 9-6-1993 Times of India 9-6-1993 Indian Express 9-6-1993 Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad 10-6-1993 Deccan Herald, 10-6-1993 The Hindu, 10-6-1993 The Pioneer, New Delhi 10-6-1993 The Times of India 10-6-1993 The Times of India  11-6-1993 The Hindustan Times New Delhi 9-6-1993 Indian Express 9-6-1993: Deccan Chronicle,  Hyderabad 10-6-1993 Deccan Chronicle 10-6-1993. The Hindu 10-6-1993:  The Times of India, Delhi, 13-6-1993 Indian Express, New Delhi 13-6-1993 Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, 9-6-1993 Indian Express, Vizianagaram, 16-6-1993 The Telegraph, Calcutta 16-6-1993 Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad 26-6-1993 A NEW ZEALAND BARRISTER ANALYSES POLICE EVIDENCE The Hindu, Hyderabad  27-10-1995 The Hitavada, Nagpur 24-6-1993 The Hindu, Coimbatore 18-6-1993 The Hindu, Vishakapatnam 1-7-1993 Frontline 2-7-1993 Indian Express Vijawada, 4-7-1993 Nagpur Times 8-7-1993 The Hitavada 8-7-1993 The Hitavada 9-7-1993 Indian Express, Vijayawada 11-7-1993 Dalit Voice 19-7-1993 Times of India 27-10-1993 Deccan Herald, Bangalore 20-2-1994

Click for TRANSCRIPT OF BBC INTERVIEW WITH THE FORMER HOME MINISTER OF ANDHRA PRADESH - V.P. NAIR with short video clips where he tells what he knew about the murders episode

The Hindustan Times 9-6-1993

Ms. Vinita Prabhu, widow of one of the alleged assailants, Suresh Shantaram Prabhu, claims that their allegations against her husband is ‘all humbug’ and her brother-in-law has been kidnapped.

She says it was Baba who arranged her marriage with Suresh, a marine engineer. Her husband was a very good man, a great disciple of Baba. ‘He would never harm Baba’. He had a first class job as a marine engineer. He came down last December as his mother was not well. She died in January but since Baba didn’t allow him to go, her husband had not joined duty again. ‘We never do anything without Baba’s permission’.

She had lived in the quarters given by Baba for the past 12 years, even when her husband was away. Her two young children study at the ashram school while her aged father-in-law lives opposite in his own quarters.

Narrating the events of the fateful night, she says her husband asked her to go to sleep and left promising to return by midnight. He had never done such a thing before. ‘It was his fate to die’, she says". She learnt that somebody had died only the next morning from her father-in-law who had it from the milkman.

The Hindu 9-6-1993

The brother of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Mr. Janakiram, told press-persons that an attempt by the slain quartet had been made on June 3 but it did not succeed because the Sai Baba, contrary to expectations, left Bangalore for Puttaparthi only on June 4. The attackers had gone to Bangalore in a hired van to waylay the Baba.

According to a chief functionary of the World Satya Sai Trust, Mr Indulal Shah, Sunday’s incident did not appear to be an attack on the Baba, but one aimed at the rival groups within the complex.

The Hitavada, Nagpur 9-6-1993

BJP has demanded thorough enquiry into the attempted murder of Satya Sai Baba yesterday, a report from Delhi says.

The Party Vice-President, Mr. K.R. Malkani, said the attempt on the life of Sai Baba has come as a ‘rude shock’ and said it was surprising that all the four assailants should have been killed by the police. This is something extraordinary, he said.

For, in the absence of all the assailants ‘we may never be able to uncover the conspiracy,’ he said, adding ‘It is elementary in all such situations that the assailants are nabbed and if necessary hit and disabled but never killed.’

Times of India 9-6-1993

If the police version of the assailants pouncing on them and brandishing daggers necessitating the opening of fire as the only option is to be accepted as true, the ashram inmates, speaking on condition of anonymity, asked why none of the policemen suffered any serious injuries.

When this question was posed to the Puttaparthi circle inspector of police, Mr. K. N. Gangadhar Reddy, he said ‘you must realise the fact that we went fearing the worst. Imagine the consequences if something had happened to Swamiji…’

Indian Express 9-6-1993

Top Police officers, including Hyderabad Police Commissioner H.J. Dura and DIG (CID) Ramachandraiah, who were supervising the investigation into the abortive attempt on Sri Satya Sai Baba’s life here on Sunday night, were tight-lipped, refusing to answer any question on the incident and its aftermath.

The officers tried to evade questions, particularly those from the Press and chose to repeat ‘investigation is in progress and we are pursuing all clues.’ Several attempts to gain access to the First Information Report (FIR) filed on the case were also thwarted by the officers and their subordinates. As a result it is not known under what sections of the Indian Penal Code the case was registered.

The police have no answer as to why news about the incident on Sunday night was suppressed from the outside world for over 12 hours till Monday morning, though it happened around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday…

The presence of Sai Baba’s brother Janakiram and his nephews {viz. Baba`s} at the ashram on Tuesday was noticeable as they often directed their ire over the incident at those in charge of administration of Prashanthi Nilayam.

‘He was so timid and kind that it is unbelievable that he tried to kill Sai Baba,’ says a shocked Saroja Krishnamurthy, mother of K. Sairam, one of the four assailants shot dead by the police.

The killing of Sairam, a first year M. Com. student of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSIHL) of Puttaparthi, leaves many questions unanswered.

The hushed up funeral of Sairam… also leaves enough questions unanswered.

Sairam, son of Krishnamurthi, a junior Management Officer … joined SSIHL for PUC and had been a residential student since then, ‘He was always shy but was recognised by Sai Baba as a good speaker and Sairam used to give speeches to the audience in the presence of Sai Baba.,’ she says, unable even to guess as to why Sairam tried to attack Sai Baba. ‘I do not know why he did it. I do not know who threatened him into committing the crime,’ says Saroja in a choked voice, adding that she and her husband Krishnamurthi had been disciples of Sai Baba for the past 20 years.

DECCAN CHRONICLE, Hyderabad 10-6-1993

… There is no shortage of conspiracy theories doing the rounds. The largest peg for these conspiracies is that the police killed all four assailants, thus removing forever the possibilities of anyone getting to the truth from the horse’s mouth.

While the most widely circulated theory is that the assailants were enraged at their abrupt removal from the power centre of the ashram, others also suggest involvement of the immediate family of the Baba.

Independent sources say that the younger brother of the Baba and treasurer of the Satya Sai Seva Trust, Mr. Janaki Ram, was the brain behind the conspiracy.

Mr. Janaki Ram is believed to be casting greedy glances at the vast fortunes of the trust…

Indeed, the Baba had himself acknowledged the vastness of his wealth by telling a congregation, in a different context, that his wealth would drain out only when the banks of the river Chitravati were shorn of sand.

Sources point out to Mr. Janaki Ram’s delay in condemning the attack on his brother as a pointer to his involvement. They said Mr. Janaki Ram tried to play on the grouse of the assailants through Vijay Shantaram Prabhu, a close aide of Mr. Janaki Ram and in charge of the vocational Centre, who in turn reportedly entrusted the job to the four disenchanted disciples.

Three of the assailants, who are suspected to have RSS-VHP (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh & Vishwa Hindu Parishad) links, include E.K. Suresh Kumar from Kerala (who was staying at the ashram after finishing his M. Com., in 1986), Sai Ram, a final year M. Com. Student at the SSIHL, and Jagannath, a drop-out.

What has particularly aroused the interest of the investigators is that during the controversial Feb. 24 visit of the VHP general secretary, Mr. Ashok Singhai, to the ashram, the three assailants were deputed to take care of the VHP leader and his entourage.

Mr. Singhai had gone to Prashanti Nilayam to seek the Baba’s support for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. The Baba had badly snubbed him, first refusing an audience and then agreeing to meet him for a scant ten minutes. At the end of the meeting, the Baba bluntly told him that there was no need for the construction of any new Ram temple. He told Mr. Singhai that the Bharatiya Janata Party was playing a political game in the name of the temple.

… The Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party president, Mr. K.S. Easwarappa, on Wednesday strongly refuted press reports alleging the assailants had connections with the VHP.


Mrs. Ratnamma (62), Jagannathan’s mother, said it was unbelievable that her son could ever attack Sai Baba as he was an ardent devotee of the Baba.

Jagannathan (29), a resident of Gottehere on Bannerghatta Road, was a pre-university student at Whitefield and later graduated in commerce from MES College in Malleshwaram. Having worked in the computer stationery business for a while, he however left to devote himself to the Baba when the business failed.

Mrs. Ratnamma said he had almost become an ascetic…"

Jagannathan’s family could not claim the body as the reached Puttaparthi only late on Tuesday evening. The bodies had been retained until 1 p.m. on Tuesday after which they were buried. Family sources however blamed the police for not having informed them in time, despite having their address.

A distressed Mr. Kondandaram said the police also refused to help in the identification of his brother’s grave. He was told he would have to undertake the exhumation and identification on his own as well as transport the body back to Bangalore at his own expense. The disappointed family then returned without claiming the body."

The Hindu, 10-6-1993

When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Satya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.’

The Pioneer, New Delhi 10-6-1993

According to highly placed sources, the sleuths are finding themselves in the unenviable position where, on the one hand, no cooperation is forthcoming from Sai Baba and other officials of Prashanti Nilayam and, on the other, they would have to investigate the role of the local police. Questions are being raised about the way the police indiscriminately killed all the four assailants. ‘We are definitely looking into the circumstances in which police shot dead the assailants, a senior official told the Pioneer.

The role of the police has come into focus as details of the Sunday night incident clearly suggest that if the police had made an earnest attempt, they could have easily caught all the assailants alive.

According to the details available now, the assailants, after killing two personal aides of Sai Baba and injuring two others, panicked as the sirens wailed and the whole ashram was flooded with lights.

The inmates then woke up and surrounded the place… The frightened intruders then locked themselves in a room on the first floor of the building. The Baba had quietly moved out of his bedroom and shifted to a room on the ground floor. The question is: what stopped the police from pressurising or persuading the intruders to surrender instead of breaking open the door and killing all of them on the spot?"

The Times of India 10-6-1993

June. 9: The Union home minister, Mr. S.B. Chavan, who reached the Baba’s ashram around 6 p.m., immediately called on the godman at Prashanti Nilayam and was closeted with him for lengthy discussion. The home minister also had discussions with the top police brass, including the Andhra Pradesh crime branch DIG, Mr. Ramachandraiah, who is heading the investigation into the Sunday night’s attack…"

The Times of India  11-6-1993

… The Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police, T. Suryannarayana Rao, in an informal chat with newsmen, ruled out the question of seeking CBI assistance (Criminal Bureau of Investigation) and contended that the local police and the CID were quite capable of doing the job.

He, however, declined to describe the Sunday incident as an attempt on the life of Baba ‘we are not saying that there was an attempt or not. As of now, officially we don’t believe there was any attempt on the Baba. But we have an open mind and are not ruling out anything,’ he explained."

On the younger brother of Satya Sai Baba, who is Janakira Ramiah (also referred to as Janakiram, Janakiramaiah and Janaki):

The Hindustan Times New Delhi 9-6-1993

Baba’s younger brother R.V. Janakiram, a landlord, is more forthcoming. Conducting this correspondent to the building where the attack took place, he breaks down. ‘Baba never did anything for the family. He did everything for others. See what they have done to him now.’ Baba’s nephew R. Vishwanath, manager of the State Bank of Mysore, Secunderabad, says that other than getting the front seats at celebrations, the family had no importance. All that shows signs of changing now.

The family feel that the ‘outsiders’ whom Baba chose to look after the ashram and the movement have let him down. The family has now closed ranks and is asserting itself.

Indian Express 9-6-1993:

The presence of Sai Baba’s brother Janakiram and his nephews {viz. Baba’s nephews} at the ashram on Tuesday was noticeable as they often directed their ire over the incident at those in charge of administration at Prashanthi Nilayam. Baba would not like to meet the media as he had reservations that he might be misquoted, said Janakiram. He said Baba always believed his devotees and that’s why he had handed over all administrative responsibilities to them and not to any of his relatives. ‘See what those trusted ones tried to do to him,’ he added tearfully."

Deccan Chronicle,  Hyderabad 10-6-1993

While the most widely circulated theory is that the assailants were enraged at their removal from the power centre of the ashram, others also suggest an involvement of the immediate family of the Baba. Independent sources say that the younger brother of the Baba and treasurer of the Sri Satya Sai Trust. Mr. Janaki Ram, was the brain behind the conspiracy."

Deccan Chronicle 10-6-1993.

Sources point out Mr. Janaki Ram’s delay in condemning the attack on his brother as a pointer to his involvement. They said Mr. Janaki Ram tried to play upon the grouse of the assailants through Vijay Shantaram Prabhu, a close aide of Mr. Janaki Ram and in charge of the vocational centre, who in turn entrusted the job to the four disenchanted disciples.

Top police officials hint discreetly 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 startling. The doctor said a number of unidentified bodies, particularly those of women, were brought to the hospital from Prashanthi 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.

The Hindu 10-6-1993: 

Several of the investigating officials complained of lack of cooperation from the members of the Satya Sai Trust. When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Satya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it."

The Times of India, Delhi, 13-6-1993

According to the police complaint regarding the incident (the ashram authorities have intriguingly not filed any complaint till date) the quartet of would-be assassins - Suresh Shantiram Prabhu, E.K. Suresh Kumar, Jagannathan and K. Sai Ram - allegedly gained entry into the godman’s residential complex on the pretext of personally delivering a telegram. Baba’s personal aides - Radhakrishna, Sai Kumar Mahajan, Anil Patley and Vishnu - were stabbed by the assailants. While the first two died, the others were critically injured.

The Baba moved quickly to an adjoining room and raised the alarm. An armed police party led by the local circle inspector, Mr. K.N. Gangadhar Reddy, rushed to the ashram; the foursome hid in a bedroom on the first floor. The policemen gained entry to the room by breaking the doors. They fired at the assailants in self-defence, when the latter pounced upon them with daggers, refusing to surrender.

However there is no clear evidence to corroborate this version."

"… the fact that everything is not hunky-dory in the administration of Baba’s multi-crore empire at Puttaparthi has been brought out by Mr. K.V. Janaki Ram, the brother of the godman. According to him, the attack was aimed at Baba and was prompted by internal power struggles, jealousy and personal rivalry among various personalities enjoying the former’s confidence and trust. ‘It is time that these affairs were set right,’ he says.

Though Mr. Janaki Ram has nothing to say against his brother and euologises him as ‘Bhagwan,’ who ‘loves all and is loved by all’, it is evident that he is gunning for some of the ashram’s functionaries and would himself like a share of the gold mine. ‘The security set up around Baba has to be strengthened with government help,’ he adds.

The police, however, have virtually ruled out the involvement of Naxalites and either RSS or VHP elements."

Indian Express, New Delhi 13-6-1993

The officers investigating into the alleged attempt on Sri Satya Sai Baba on Sunday night have examined Subbappayya {a boy in his early teens}, an inmate of Prashanti Nilayam complex and a prime witness in the case, according to a highly informed source. There are conflicting versions regarding the opening of the doors of Baba’s personal chambers on the fateful night. Union Home Minister S.B. Chavan during his recent visit to Puttaparthi told newsmen that Baba came out from his chamber on hearing some commotion on the ground floor. He scolded the persons creating noise and returned to his room, bolting the door from inside

This version gives rise to several doubts. If Baba had really opened the door and scolded the persons creating noise, why could he not intervene and avert the situation leading to the four alleged assailants attacking his personal guards posted at the mandir.

The alleged assailants forced their entry into the personal chambers of Baba and attempted to attack Subbappayya with a dagger. Subbappayya escaped unhurt as the dagger could only pierce through his loose shirt without touching his body. It is learnt that Subbappayya immediately closed the door, bolted it and alerted Baba about the impending danger.

(Jfr. Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, 9-6-1993

Even as the scuffle was going on, the Baba was rescued by one of his students who was present in the bedroom. The Baba was shifted to another living room on the ground floor through a secret passage by breaking open the glass panes.)

Indian Express, Vizianagaram, 16-6-1993

Director General of Police T.S. Rao told newspersons at Puttaparthi recently, that the police ‘were not considering the incident as an attempt on the Baba. But the Baba’s brother Janakiram opines that ‘it was definitely an attempt on the Baba’s life.’

The Telegraph, Calcutta 16-6-1993

It was on the Baba’s request that the proposal to institute a CBI {viz. Central Bureau of Intelligence} inquiry was shelved. The godman was surprised at the planning that went into the attempt on his life. But he gave the RSS and VHP a clean chit and told Mr. Chavan that they were in no way connected with the attack. In the backdrop of these developments, the Baba’s brother, Mr. R.V. Janakiram, appeared a thoroughly unhappy man. A member of the trust, he voiced concern over alleged internal strife in the Satya Sai institutions and trusts.

Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad 26-6-1993

A ‘few hundred’ bundles of Rs. 500 denomination and a ‘few’ other bundles of dollars running into several lakhs, were seen by one of the trustees of Satya Sai Baba’s ashram inside the Baba’s chamber only a few hours before the incident.

However, there is no trace of the money after the incident. Though the authorities are trying to hush up everything, it was but a slip of the tongue on the part of Mr. K.N. Gangadhar Reddy, inspector in charge of Puttaparthi Police Station, that put Chronicle to pursue this angle.

Though Mr. Gangadhar Reddy admitted to Chronicle that the money was indeed missing, he later tried to retract his remarks. But it is now conclusively learnt that the money aspect has not been taken into consideration in the investigations. The Superintendent of Police, CB-CID, Mr. Gopalakrishnam Raju, also refused to comment on anything. The only significant thing he said was that ‘nothing significant’ had been achieve so far.

Further investigations by Chronicle revealed that it was not Satya Sai Baba who was the target for the attack. In fact, it was Radhakrishna, the Godman’s personal assistant…"

Though Radhakrishna succeeded E.K. Suresh a year back, he was a close confidant of the Baba for 15 years. He had his finger in every pie of whatever Baba did. He soon became so powerful that he once reportedly threatened one of the trust members ‘to expose the misdeeds of the trust’. This, it is understood, had antagonised many important trustees."

Mr. Shankar Shantaram Prabhu, a retired flight lieutenant and father of the Prabhu brothers, told Chronicle that he was informed by his elder son, Vijaya Shantaram Prabhu - who is reportedly absconding - on that fateful morning that a homan was being performed by Radhakrishna ‘with an intention to harm the Baba, at some secret place’. Vijaya also expressed that he should do something to prevent any harm befalling the Baba, but was advised to mind his own business.

The old man also suspected that the erection of floodlights around Baba’s mandir just two days before the incident might be a part of the conspiracy.

Mr. Shankar Prabhu also expressed apprehension that Vijaya might also have met the same fate as that of his brother. On the conspiracy theory, he opined that ‘there are some vested interests in the ashram trying to undermine the Baba. My two sons have become victims of the vicious circle in the ashram,’ he added.

An impression is being apparently created among the police and the public that the target was none other than Baba alone so that they could escape attention of the investigating agencies.

This can be gauged from the fact that Janakiramaiah, Satya Sai Baba’s brother and a powerful figure in the trust, is desperately trying to project that the Baba was the main target. ‘Otherwise why should the assailants choose to kill Radhakrishna in the mandir?’ he asked.

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. It may be noted that the MBA students had disarmed the alleged assailants. 

In the melee, someone reportedly shouted that they be locked in a room till the police were called, following which the four people were subsequently pushed inside the Baba’s bedroom and locked in.

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 thirty minutes.

Meanwhile, Janakiramaiah and Col. Joga Rao, who is also one of the trustees, came rushing and conferred with Satya Sai Baba for 10 minutes. Coming out of the Baba’s ground floor chamber, the eyewitness said, Janakiramaiah reportedly told the students to ‘lynch them’. ("Vallani kattesinaru, champeyundira…" They are tied. Now kill them).

It was 11:30 p.m. then and the cops arrived on the scene. The students backed out as soon as they saw the cops. Janakiramaiah reportedly spoke to them for a few minutes. Later, the cops ‘swung into action’ and killed all the four alleged assailants in four different rooms, in cold blood, according to the eyewitness. Thus the entire evidence was wiped out in a matter of seconds by the trigger-happy policemen."

Comment on the above:-


Warren C. Pyke LLN (Hons.) LLM (VUW), Barrister, New Zealand 3-3-1993

I COMMENT ON THE Remand Report of the Superintendent of Police, CID Cuddapah. Assuming that his findings have not been materially contradicted, which is the position as I understand it, his report clearly calls for a thorough and impartial inquiry into the deaths in Sai Baba’s room. Any one of the following grounds would be sufficient in my opinion, but combined the case for such an inquiry is overwhelming.


a) The contradictory eye-witness evidence of V. Jagadish, contradictory that is to the local Police Officer’s statements - the fact that he observed the broken door before the police arrived and was possibly the last independent witness to speak to the deceased makes his evidence significant and most material;b) The contradictory eye-witness evidence of D. Peddireddy, contradictory that is to the local Police Officer’s statements - he says that he broke the wooden plank that was holding the door and saw the deceased in the room after he did so; once again this is most significant material and corroborates the evidence of Jagadish; c) The absence of injury to the CI and the nature of the minor injuries to the other Police Constables is inconsistent with their story of a struggle and their need to open fire, but is not inconsistent (I deliberately use a double negative here) with the account of Jagadish and Peddireddy;d The position of the deceased after death is inconsistent with the Police version but consistent with them still being in the room after the door was broken, as observed by Jagadish and Peddireddy;e) The nature of the gunshot wounds to the deceased are entirely inconsistent with the Police Officer’s claim of self-defence but are entirely consistent with a very close range discharge;f) The fact that the bodies were moved is sufficient to warrant an inquiry as this clearly shows that the crime scene was deliberately altered after the fact;g) The absence of possession by the deceased of the alleged knives after death strongly suggests that they posed no threat to the Officers, although it cannot be ruled out that the knives were dropped in the alleged melee;h) The evidence about when the shots were heard: independent and reputable witnesses, Balachandra, Sahani, Vatsava all say 1 a.m., which is consistent with the post-mortem report as to time of death; this contradicts the Police evidence by a full 1½ hours (11.30 p.m. cf 1 a.m.): this cannot be explained by any suggested error in the post-mortem;

i) The number of rounds discharged and the position of the bullets after firing show that some firing was not directed at a specific target. Given the police assertion of self-defence which, if believed, would suggest that the firing would have been carefully aimed so as to avoid shooting their fellow officers (given the confined space), the Police evidence as to the nature of their firing is incredible.

Warren C. Pyke, (4th Floor, NZI Building, Garden Place, Hamilton, New Zealand)

NOTE: Concerning the time of the attack, Sai Baba said in a discourse about 3 weeks later at Gurupurnima about Radhakrishna. "The messenger of death dogged him at 10:00 p.m." (See the journal Sanathana Sarathi July 1993, p 175.) This may be fairly accurate, though roughly 10:30 p.m. is indicated by most reliable accounts.

The Hindu, Hyderabad  27-10-1995

Police Reshuffle. Oct. 26. In a reshuffle of senior IPS officers, Mr. H.J. Dora, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) was transferred and posted as additional DGP, CID.

Mr. Janak Raj, Inspector General of Police (IG), Sports and Welfare swaps his post with Mr. S.K. Sukumara, IG, Prisons. Mr. V. Dinesh Reddy, DIG (Admin.) promoted as IG and shifted to Weights and Measures department vice, Mr. P. Ramulu, who will assume charge as IG (Organisation).

Mr. S.S.P. Yadav, IG, CID, has been transferred and posted as IG, Protection of Civil Rights. Mr. K. Sadashiv Rao, IG (Railways) promoted as Additional Director General and holds the same upgraded post. 

Mr. S.A. Huda, who returned from Central Services, has been posted as DIG, Battalions, Kakinada in place of Mr. R.P. Mena, who is waiting form posting.

H.J. Dora is referred to as Sai Baba’s ‘Man Friday’, directed the filing of the false First Incident Report and destroyed much evidence, and thereby is promoted.

The Hitavada, Nagpur 24-6-1993

The happenings at the abode of the controversial godman Satya 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 Satya Sai Trust.

The vernacular press on Wednesday morning, quoting eyewitness accounts, came out with damning evidence against the trust authorities. The news reports alleged that the police had resorted to this, to hush up the truth.

The Hindu, Coimbatore 18-6-1993

A common question everybody asks is why have the police and the investigating agencies have not ventured to examine the prime witness, Satya Sai Baba himself, even after 11 days have passed. When press persons posed this question to the Union Home Minister, Mr. S.B. Chavan, he merely said that the officers had not felt the need and that if at any stage of the investigation it was found necessary, the Baba would certainly be interrogated.

Another intriguing aspect is that the Satya Sai Central Trust, which runs the ashram, has not yet filed a written complaint.

An examination of the pictures taken by a photographer on the request of the local police, revealed that all was not as natural as it appeared. Many of those pictures showing the suspected assailants lying in blood also show pieces of rope around. A few days later, the CID officials seized the negatives and reportedly went around Puttaparthi and Anantapur in an attempt to seize any positive prints.

The Hindu, Vishakapatnam 1-7-1993

The Rationalist Association of Andhra Pradesh has demanded that the police must examine Sri Satya Sai Baba or ask him to file a statement on the death of six persons as Prashanthi Nilayam at Puttaparthi recently. If he fails to do so, he should be arrested and interrogated, Mr. K. Innaiah, President of the Association, demanded at a press conference here on Wednesday.

It would be a violation of the regulations under Cr. P.C. to hesitate to examine Sri Sai Baba, as he was a direct witness to the happenings, he said. Politicians including the Chief Minister, Mr. K. Vijayabhaskara Reddy, must stop visiting Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi at public expenditure, he said and criticised the Central and State Ministers for their ‘attempts’ to protect Baba.

Frontline 2-7-1993

Sai Baba is said to have shouted to the trouble-makers, "Fools, get out," before he bolted the door from the inside, left the room through a back entrance and crossed over to the eastern wing through an open terrace.

Having finished their job in the interview room, the assailants managed to force open Sai Baba’s bedroom door, flicked a switch to sound a siren, the existence of which very few knew about till then. On a campus where devotees are hushed into silence by the omnipresent volunteers of the Sri Satya Sai Seva Dal, the siren woke up everyone. It alerted the residents of the adjoining Puttaparthi village. The floodlights around the mandiram complex were switched on.

Soon thousands surrounded the mandiram, wielding sticks and other weapons. They were restrained with difficulty by senior members of the ashram. A police constable who arrived at the spot was too scared to go inside to investigate.

The outside world gets to know very little about the internal affairs of Prashanthi Nilayam, such as organisational matters and the quantum of donations received; the system is so tightly-knit. While responsibilities have been delegated to members of the Sri Satya Sai Central Trust, the controlling body, Sai Baba himself makes all important decisions and signs cheques. The organisation shies away from publicity saying volunteer work does not warrant it. Press-persons are rarely wanted.

T.S. Rao refuses to admit the existence of any evidence to conclude that there was a plan to kill Sai Baba, contrary to the official note circulated by the police that it was ‘an attempt on the life of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Baba.’ This is only an indication of the pressures the police are being subjected to by the organisation against revealing any information to the media.

R.V. Janakiram, Sai Baba’s brother and member of the Central Trust, has gone on record that a conspiracy had been hatched to kill the Baba by way-laying him when he was returning from Whitefield near Bangalore on June 4. However, he is in the dark about the identity of the conspirators.

Indian Express Vijawada, 4-7-1993

Parents of Boyapati Ravindra, who is at large following the June 6 incidents at Prashanti Nilayam at Puttaparthy, have appealed to him to surrender immediately: ‘Surrender and tell the world what has been happening at Prashanthi Nilayam. Baba knows you are innocent,’ they said.

Aged parents Venkateshwara Rao and Ramanamma, who have been asked to leave Puttaparthy by Baba’s personal secretary Narayana, returned to their home in the remote village Ghantasalavaripalem in Krishna District. ‘If I or my son say anything, it is only at the divine inspiration of Baba,’ Venkateswara Rao claimed.

Nagpur Times 8-7-1993

In a daring operation also filled with drama the Nagpur police today arrested Vijay Shantaram Prabhu (45) and Bothapatti Ravindra Babu Venkatshwar Rao (33) both suspected assailants at large involved in the June 6 murderous attack on godman Satya Saibaba at his Prashanti Nilayam abode in Puttaparthi.

The Hitavada 8-7-1993

Sources say that the arrested duo, talking to the cops here claimed that they were innocent and had been framed. They hinted at a larger conspiracy and said that their names had been given to the police as they had vital information about the ‘misdeeds’ of those in power at the ashram. They claimed that certain people had gained control over the activities of the Ashram and were apparently misappropriating finds. These people control the purse strings and deal in considerable amounts of money on a day-to-day basis as huge donations come to the Ashram every day, they said.

The Hitavada 9-7-1993

Satya Sai Baba has surprised everyone during his ‘gurupoornima day’ speech that there was never any attempt on his life and declared that no harm would befall him. Significantly, Janakiramaiah, one of the important functionaries of the Prashanti Nilayam and brother of Sai Baba, said that, there was an attempt on the life of the Baba on the night of June 6.

Indian Express, Vijayawada 11-7-1993

Family members and other relatives of Boyapati Ravi, one of the accused in the attempt on the life of Satya Sai Baba, have asserted that he and Santaram Prabhu ‘surrendered’ to Nagpur police and were not arrested as announced by the police.

Ravi’s relatives said on Saturday that he and Prabhu visited Vijayawada a few days before they left for Nagpur.

Ravi’s relatives who pleaded anonymity said that Prabhu who had some friends in Maharashtra chose to go to Narpur along with Ravi to surrender before the police there. They did not want to surrender to the Andhra Pradesh police as they feared a threat to their lives.

Sources close to Ravi’s family alleged that the four persons reportedly killed in police firing at Prashanthi Nilayam on June 6 were actually beaten to death by Baba’s brother R.V. Janakiramaiah and his men. For certain benefits the local police hand-in-glove with Janakiramaiah later arranged a scene as if they killed the four accused in self-defence. 

The sources said Janakiramaiah harassed Ravi’s father, Venkateswara Rao, who had been staying in Prashanthi Nilayam for the last 8 years, after the June 6 incident. Though Venkatswara Rao wanted to spend two days more at Puttaparthi after he was forcible evacuated from Prashanthi Nilayam, Janakiramaiah threatened the house-owners offering them shelter, the sources said."

Dalit Voice 19-7-1993

Truth never comes out of India. And this oft-repeated statement of ours needs no better proof when India’s ‘national’ toilet-papers - boasting of their tremendous capacity for ‘investigative journalism’ - suppressed truth about the ghastly murders that took place on June 6 night in the bedroom of Satya Sai Baba, India’s richest godman.

Even the ‘truth’ revealed by the BBC was not reproduced by any newspaper in India because it is so inconvenient to the upper caste rulers and particularly the neogi [?] brahmin whose office is said to have given a direction to all editors to keep off Sai Baba.

DV Duty: This is what journalists covering the Sai Baba affair here tell us. And that should once and for all convince us that in India there is nothing like ‘freedom of the press’. Every journalist who had been to Puttaparthi knows the truth but he/she is under orders not to write. Hence it becomes our duty to reveal the truth. What is the truth? According to the visiting BBC correspondent, Jaswinder Singh’s on-the-spot reporting from Puttaparthi, the four alleged assassins were not killed by the police, but by Baba’s own people. The BBC had quoted the mother of one of the dead ‘assassins’ now living in the Puttaparthi ashram itself. She was quoted that her son was for long fearing murder and he was finally killed.

Times of India 27-10-1993

Ravindra Baba and Vijay Shantaram Prabhu… were intensively interrogated by the Nagpur police before being handed over to their Andhra counterparts, who had come here to take them back to Puttaparthi. The details of the interrogation were made available to The Times of India News Service. Prabhu reportedly told the police that he and those shot dead by the police were all staunch devotees of Sai Baba. According to him, a coterie of five persons staying at the Puttaparthi ashram were misappropriating cash and jewellery offerings made by the devotees to the Baba and [?] been duped of several lakhs of rupees in cash and kind. When Prabhu and his associates protested against this, the five men threatened them with dire consequences. The names of these five persons have been disclosed to the Nagpur police. Prabhu said that he finally took up the matter with the godman, who expressed his anguish over the development but said he could not initiate any action against the inmates unless there was concrete evidence. Prabhu knew the room where the loot was stashed before being taken outside the complex. He, along with a few other devotees, planned to immobilise the persons by using chloroform. It was also decided to burst crackers somewhere in the complex in order to divert the attention of the guards. The material needed for the operation was purchased in Bangalore. However, the moment the men with the key to the room were pounced upon, they raised an alarm. The coterie was alerted. It was then made to appear that an attempt on the Baba’s life has been made.

Deccan Herald, Bangalore   20-2-1994

(On Vijay and Ravi) After arresting them at Nagpur on July 8, the AP police obtained a four-day remand for taking them to Penukonda for production before the judicial first class magistrate. During that period they took them to Hyderabad and unofficially grilled them and got the entire story. But they have had to fight for the custody of the two and have not been able to get confessional statements. Moreover, with the ashram authorities clamming up, they have not been able to get corroborative evidence either.

Vijay and Ravi are understood to have told the police that they, along with their four slain colleagues, wanted to stage a coup and gain control of the ashram so as to ‘free the Baba from the clutches of the mafia controlling him’. They have said that they wanted to bring to Baba’s attention the ‘financial misdeeds’ of the trustees.

Another aspect of the drama is that no ashram authority has preferred a police complaint and the FIR {First Incident Report} is registered in the name of Puttaparthi Inspector K.N. Gangadhar Reddy. Since murder is a cognisable offence, police moved in on their own.

The FIR has gaping holes. For example, Gangadhar Reddy says that at about 10.30 p.m. he heard a commotion in the ashram and came to know that an attempt was being made to kill the Baba. The police station is right outside the ashram and he rushed in with a team. Yet, the four assailants were tracked down to the living room of the Baba one hour later.

The relevant portion of the FIR reads, "Four assailants rushed to the Baba’s living room and closed door and bolted from inside… One door plank was broken open…. At about 11.30 p.m. , four assailants armed with daggers, suddenly opened doors, pounced on police, attacked and caused injuries to HV 1129 and PCs 844 and 1302. As police could not overpower them, in self-defence, SI Puttaparthi, HC 1129, PC 844 and 1302 and ARPC 581 opened fire, killing four assailants."

But the post-mortem reports and investigations by the CB-CID tell a different story. In all 27 rounds were fired. The bodies have all been found inside the Baba’s living room. Since vital organs like the heart and the lungs were hit, the victims would not have been able to move but would have collapsed and died.

Police photographs show that the doors have been freshly painted, indicating tampering with evidence. The walls and even the toilet bear extensive bullet marks. The bodies lie supine in a pool of blood, but there are no blood stains on the trousers.

p.2, Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad para 6

Other documents on the 1993 murders are at:  
Murders Review
VKN_on_murders - part one
VKN on murders - part two

More on the murders
Murder of a Swiss-German lady ca_1992

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