has been written about the murders in Sathya Sai's apartments on June
6, 1993. Six deaths occurred in Sathya Sai's apartments that night. Two of Sathya Sai Baba's attendants, his personal valet
Radhakrishna Menon and a young male servitor, Sai Kumar Mahajan, were
"Hmm! About Radhakrishna and Mahajan being poisoned and dying beforehand - did not hear that one before! Well, I thought I saw Radhakrishna's body being taken out of the Mandir and hearing that he was stabbed multiple times, but that is only what I heard - right at that moment (less time for lies to be created and fester). Though who knows - I only know what I saw and heard that night!"
Further, the large amount of blood on the interview room floor must be explained, and the killing of the two servitors fits that, since the blood was seen very early on in the episode by numerous reports.
Four of the intruders
(armed with knives) were locked into Sai Baba's bedroom apartment for
hours and – after the long stand-off - were subsequently executed by a
hail of bullets from the Puttaparthi police. Since there has been no
charges of murder or court case, and since much evidence had been destroyed, ignored or hidden by the Puttaparthi police, a Central Federal Bureau investigation was appointed, only to be disbanded when it was nearing results. Most revealing, perhaps, was the massive bribes Sai Baba sent to about 30 family members and insider residents, as witnessed and testified by Eileen Weed, who was living in the rooms of SB's eldest sister at the time. One certain fact is that there was a major cover-up to the highest levels!
Cover-up of the executions of June 6 th, 1993: The Sai officials involved spread numerous conflicting accounts of all aspects of the matter, successfully creating great confusion among devotees and the investigators. Sathya Sai Baba's own rambling and unclear account given in a discourse some month later in July 1993 further confused the issue. The CBI investigation was begun because the Puttaparthi police report was patently untrue and was evidently thoroughly concocted. Much evidence was lost - and forensic and other evidence was destroyed prior to any trial. This means the destruction was purposive. The CBI investigation was hindered by higher authority by re-posting the two chief officers in charge before they could report their findings officially and the entire case was soon later quashed by government authorities in all possible silence. Therefore the collected evidence was never made public and so many questions remain open. That a major cover-up took place is simply indisputable. Yet fanatical Sai devotees [like Mr. Chris Parnell of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization] argue against their own better knowledge - that it was all satisfactorily cleared up! A despicable deception so as to try to save Sathya Sai Baba and dupe devotees into keeping faith with him, an issue with strong political and many other interests and investments of prestige, and not least money, for most of the Indian government and judiciary.
Fame for Sai - or notoriety?
Sathya Sai Baba claimed that the murders in his bedroom would only increase his fame! However, since then he and his (claimed up to 100 million) followers – with a couple of exceptions – remained totally silent about this! It is really remarkable that the murders have always been a strictly taboo subject in the ashrams and unmentionable by members of the Sathya Sai Organization and anyone who wanted to remains 'in favour' and avoid banishment or worse. Fortunately, not all remained silent. The Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh and in charge of the State police at the time, Mr. V.P. Nair, as he made very clear to the BBC interviewer, as follows:-
Tanya Datta: So are you suggesting that the police executed the boys that night?
VPB Nair: In absolute... this is absolute cold-blooded murder.
Tanya Datta: 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 naturally complain that police connections ensured that Sai Baba wasn't even interviewed, despite being one of the witnesses to the events of that night and an accomplice to the fact.
The above is part of the transcript of the BBC documentary ‘The Secret Swami' sent worldwide by BBC World. see the relevant Secret Swami video clip here )
Increased fame has not resulted, but increased ‘notoriety' certainly
has! So much for yet another of Sathya Sai's so-called “infallible
Sathya Sai Baba's self-declared knowledge and complicity
Any independent (i.e. non-devoted) reader of Sathya Sai's Guru Poornima discourse ( July 3 1993 see on p.6) in which he tried to calm devotees. The horrendous affair with armed police executing intruders took place right under his nose and within his legal jurisdiction as the all-powerful leader of Prashanthi Nilayam independent township (self-proclaimed Almighty God, guru avatar, Creator etc.). Yet his account of events - the only one he has given - was as vague as can be and most fishy in that he tried to clothe events in a mystique, strongly insinuating that it was preordained!
Sai Baba made clear he knew in advance what was to happen to his close servitors and warned them indirectly earlier the evening before the attack. Many people believe most firmly that Sai Baba can - when required - tune in to anyone's thoughts in his vicinity, or even at a distance, (I have had very convincing experience of this myself). If so, Sai Baba must have known what was approaching from the minds of the intruders. Besides, he has constantly claimed in public to know everything about everyone! He could have averted or altered this if Radhakrishna Menon had not chosen to go out, so why did he instead speak as if in riddles… why did he not simply say what the danger was?
According to what the former Head of
the Administration building told me a decade previously, Baba had once
acted in a way I find interesting in this connection. To the one-time
head of the ashram, Mr. Kutumba Rao, who received his first longed-for
interview after 20 years waiting, was taken into the private room only
to be told that a murderer was on the way to kill him and that he must
leave the ashram immediately until further notice. He did leave at the
time and was temporarily replaced by Mr. Chiranjia Rao (subsequently
made a member of the Sathya Sai Central Trust). This covert
obliqueness, however, is typical of Sathya Sai, of his very seldom
making anything clear enough, or of clothing information in vague
phrases, and very often in deceptive ambiguities. Of such arts he was
truly a master.
One interesting point concerns what Sai Baba said about his valet, Radhakrishna Menon. In reaction to Sai Baba's rebuke for wanting to remain downstairs when it was only 7 p.m., Radhakrishna said (Sathya Sai's own words - see here) "Swami has perhaps some doubts that I may go out somewhere and talk to others". Baba said that he replied, "If I have such doubts, will I keep you with me? Not at all. There are no doubts. I am saying this for your good".
The question arises as to what exactly it might have been that Radhakrishna Menon could have talked about that could cause Baba not to keep him. It must have been something serious that others should not know. What had they to hide? That there was something is obvious, and all the more so in the light of what actually occurred as a result of Radhakrishna going out (which he did, according to Baba's own account). Radhakrishna's remark could well have had to do with money, with clandestine Central Trust operations and possible kickbacks from construction companies vying for contracts.
Who was the intruders target?
A report in the Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad . 26-6-1993, stated:-
"Further investigations by Chronicle revealed that it was not Satya Sai Baba who was the target for the attack. In fact, it was Radhakrishna Menon, the Godman's personal assistant… (this is disputed by a student present at the time) 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."
These trustees included Head of the Ashram, Mr. Narayanan, who was removed from the Central Trust for embezzlement [having built himself a luxury villa with unaccounted funds] and the former very closest servitor through decades, engineer Colonel Joga Rao, who was finally also kicked off the Central Trust by Sai Baba himself for his repeated involvement in taking kickbacks for construction deals from Larsson and Tubro.
Other high Sai officials were removed for financial irregularities within the year by Sathya Sai, and all this despite Sai having angrily denounced in the Guru Poornima discourse all suggestions that misuse of funds or any fractions ever arose in the Trust. (See V.K. Narasimhan's report to me).
Sai Baba's own younger brother, (also sometimes referred to as Janakiramiah, Janaki Ram, Janakiram and Janaki), repeatedly claimed that misuse of funds was taking place! This information came to me personally from friends who are VIPs in the Organization and all was confirmed independently and explained in detail to me on several occasions during conversations with the prominent former journalist and very close servitor of Sai Baba for two decades, V.K.Narasimhan.
After the murders and cold-blooded executions which Janakiramaiah was involved in forcing the police to carry out, he is on record for having constantly insisted was genuinely an assassination attempt against Sai, he was at last made a trustee by his elder brother, which post he held until he died in about 2004. As is known to many ashramites and most Puttaparthi residents, Janakiramiah had become a multi-millionaire in dollars from property speculation and owning corrupt businesses in Puttaparthi. V.K. Narasimhan, who knew him very well, told me in 1996 that Janaki Ram had become rich “beyond his wife's wildest dreams”.
Testimony of an eye-witness with insider connections
An eyewitness, Eileen Weed (aka 'Divya') who was living with Sai Baba's sister Venkamma has described the events of that night and added the following, which just shows the mentality which allowed the murders to be covered up:-
On 2. sep. 2012, at 15.10, Divya wrote:
"We all heard the next morning that SB gave the OK to kill the intruders after being strongly advised to do so, and that Janikiram was with SB then also and agreed (and someone else too, was it Joga Rao? I forgot who). We did not have much shock about it - after all, we were brainwashed with stories of Rama and Krishan, it was natural for us to accept Avatars wanted to murder the bad guys; plus, we thought, much better to avoid controversy and possible unpleasant truths (or what we thought might be lies) getting out.
I had heard the name Vishnubat a lot, because he was the kitchen help and Amma was cooking for SB. I believe it was Vishnubat who was often the one handing the carriers back to the family members after SB ate and went upstairs after his meal. Also, two people were injured in the encounter and survived, SB even went to visit them in the hospital next morning - I will have to read the account online to see what it says about that.
Also, I remember that we asked what the assailants were saying about SB as they were bound up, and Amma's grandsons assured us that none of the four said anything against SB. I still remember clearly to this day, the darting eyes of the grandson as he said that to us, and wondering if it was the darting eyes of a lie to his elderly grandmother, and wondering if they could really not be saying anything against SB, when they had broken in (what we believed at that time) to kill him? Of course, dead men tell no tales!"
What became of Non-violence and Compassion?
In the same 1993 Gurupurnima discourse quoted from above, Sai Baba continued his outright megalomaniac boasting, saying, "My purity is the root cause of the glory of my name. (Applause). It is not due to any publicity or propaganda. My all-pervading selfless love is the cause. No one can affect this pure love. I have no ill-will towards anybody. Swami has done no harm to anyone."
But most people with their heads and hearts still in the right balance would consider that – if one really knew the future – Sai's not telling his close devotees of such an awful fate he knew to be awaiting them runs counter to any reasonable kind of love and compassion and protection (which he always promised all his devotees). Instead, this self-claimed “all-powerful Lord” actually ran away while the knifings were going on and locked the escape door after him from the outside, trapping four assailants in his bedroom apartment. Nor did he lift a finger to avert it as it all took place under 'His Divine Nose', nor saying a single word to stop the shooting of the four who had long been, and still were, his devoted followers. He is known to have been consulted where he hid in his garage building attached to the temple well before the police shot down at close range in a hail of dozens of bullets the four young men who were armed only with knives, and the press reported his having said of the intruders, 'They are bound, now kill them'! This completely exposes the hypocrisy in Sai Baba with his oft-quoted aphorisms like 'Help ever, hurt never.' Sai Baba is always preaching about how thoughts, words and actions must be in accord. But his verbal support of non-violence as a human values should surely also include active help and not being an accomplice - whether passive or active - to cold-blooded murder? Nor was he willing to appear before authorities for questioning and he helped engineer the effective cover-up through many private meetings with the powerful Home Minister, his devotee S.B. Chavan.
No wonder residents and especially the foreign visitors at Prashanti Nilayam were seen to wander about with tired, worried faces, or sitting at darshan in perplexed absence of mind (if not exactly the ‘mindlessness' so strongly encouraged by this bogus God). How could the question that must have crossed their minds as to why Sai Baba did not intervene personally disappear from the thoughts of the great majority of them so soon and effectively? The intruders had all been his own students, the product of his own teachings!' No such 'demonic' doubts can be entertained by those who are – according to the flattery of their Divine Manipulator - the very grain, the fruit of humanity, the good devotees whose service has already saved the planet from catastrophe? Those who remain faithful are hard core blind-faith believers who will not think, see, or hear any unpalatable truth about Sathya Sai Baba!
Governmental connivance in the cover-up and quashing of the case
During the aftermath, when Indian Government authorities were trying to defuse the issue and cover it all up, V.K. Narasimhan was present to a conversation between the brother Mr. Janaki Ramiah and the Home Minister S.B. Chavan where they congratulated one another on having got the four alleged assailants murdered by the police and laughed saying 'Dead men tell no tales'. This shocked Narasimhan deeply, who apparently never recovered his previous somewhat troubled faith fully after that. He told me, referring to those who negotiated with the police on behalf of Sai Baba (including his brother Janakiramiah and Colonel Joga Rao) that “they did a terrible thing”. By using a hold that ashram authorities had gained over them when they allowed two murderers of a German lady to 'escape' in return for the money she was killed for in her new room in Prashanthi (about Rs. 80,000.-), they convinced the police to shoot down the four intruders, who were barricaded inside Sai Baba's bedroom apartment!
Some questionable events surrounding the murders issue
1) The refusal of the ashram and trust authorities to lodge any complaint on the six murders in Baba's quarters.
2) Suppression of the news of the murders by the police for 12 hours, of the post mortem reports until after burial/cremation and of trying to refuse access to the press to the First Incident Report (FIR), which later proved to be wholly uncorroborated and obviously false on the basis of many specific counts.
3) The secrecy of the Sathya Sai Central Trust in keeping photographers and journalists out of the ashram after the murders and in refusing to answer any questions of import concerning them either to the press or the various investigating authorities.
4) 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. The Indian and international press remained as silent as the grave!
5) Many illegal irregularities during the investigation occurred, very inadequate search of the scene of the crime; failure to question many eye-witnesses of events (hundreds of local inhabitants, ashram residents and visitors, many MBA students who entered Baba's quarters while the 4 alleged assailants were possibly still alive); non-questioning whoever it was who took the injured attendants to the hospital, and other eye-witnesses of events); the Central Bureau CID (Criminal Investigation Department) permitting the Puttaparthi police to search the ashram after expiry of their authority to do so; not clearing up totally conflicting reports of where poison was allegedly found.
6) The Prashanthi ashram authorities refused to allow the two injured attendants (A. Patley and V. Bhatt) to give evidence in any shape or form. They should have been kept under heavy security to give evidence to the CID) but - by removing him to a secret location - they also covered up the inexplicable and unexplained existence of the boy student in his early teens (Subbappaypa) in Baba's room who opened the door and gave Baba the alarm. The CID interrogated Subbappayya on two occasions, despite the ashram authorities demanding they present a valid authority to do so. Was this because sexual abuse was involved? Their report could never be delivered due to government interference!
7) Failure to secure material evidence such as large sums of money in notes, bullets fired by the police, and to conceal material evidence like photos of actual and alleged injuries, the bedding of the four assailants who were to sleep on guard at the mandir that night was systematic.
8) 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 Baba's door to deliver a supposed telegram. Nor would the investigators explain how the alleged assailants entered Baba's quarters when the door had already been bolted from inside (by either Subbappayya or by Baba?).
9) Why were the video film and colour photos' negatives and positives of the bodies and crimes scene asked for by the Puttaparthi police later impounded by them? (However, despite this, some 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, gloves lying neatly beside bodies of two who would have had no time to take them off having been shot through the head and heart at close range.
Sathya Sai Baba's self-declared knowledge and complicity
According to what the former Head of the Administration building told me a decade previously, Baba had once acted in a way I find interesting in this connection. To the one-time head of the ashram, Mr. Kutumba Rao, who received his first longed-for interview after 20 years waiting, was taken into the private room only to be told that a murderer was on the way to kill him and that he must leave the ashram immediately until further notice. He did leave at the time and was temporarily replaced by Mr. Chiranjia Rao (subsequently made a member of the Sathya Sai Central Trust). This covert obliqueness, however, is typical of Sathya Sai, of his very seldom making anything clear enough, or of clothing information in vague phrases, and very often in deceptive ambiguities. Of such arts he was truly a master.
Close servitor V. K. Narasimhan's doubts
Referring to the murders, the famous newspaper journalist, writer and editor, V.K. Narasimhan – even though under powerful pressures to conform while dependent on the ashram and Sai Baba personally - said openly on two occasions where the writer was present, and even before a small number of people, "What is the meaning now of the words 'Why fear when I am here'? They are a travesty."
The meaning can only be discovered an investigative spirit with honesty, conscience and – above all - sound independence of mind. In the presence of several persons at Sai Towers café (including myself, then the owner Mr. Padmanabhan, his business manager and the Australian Sai official Chris Parnell who was working for him on the magazine ‘Spiritual Impressions') V.K. Narasimhan said that he has questioned swami about the murder several times whose answers, he said three times loud and with emphasis, were “ not convincing!”
V.K. Narasimhan, who was present at the ashram and was himself in daily contact with Sai Baba from 1980 until shortly before his death in 2000, unburdened himself of shocking information in a lowered voice and in strict confidence to the present writer. Only after his death could I relate what I had learned (for the sake of protecting him in his very delicate and insecure position living in the ashram under Sai Baba's control).
See the eyewitness account of the murder scene by Eileen Weed ('Divya' who was then living with Sai Baba's sister Venkamma) Sathya Sai Baba reported to have ordered executions!
See Divya's testimony on bribery by Sai Baba of his to his relatives just after the murders Sathya Sai Baba massive bribery
Links to other articles on the 1993 Prashanthi Nilayam murder issue:-
1) How I came to learn of the blackmail by Sai officials behind the police executions of four intruder devotees from V.K. Narasimhan
2) Sai Baba and brother ordered planned murder of four devotees, 1993
Shocking eyewitness/ashram insider reports on the murders and aftermath
3) Sai Baba's massive bribery of family members and other residents after the murders (hush money - Rs. 50,000.- each)
4) More concerning the 1993 murders in the Prashanthi Nilayam Temple complex
5) Interview on BBC documentary 'The Secret Swami' with V.P.B. Nair, former home minister of Andhra Pradesh during the 1993 murders
7) Excerpts from Indian newspaper reports on the murders in Sai Baba's vicinity and the cover-up
8 Review of the cover-up and what cannot be denied
Indian Express, Vijayawada 11-7-1993 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.
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 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. 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 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.
Frontline 2-7-1993 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.
Deccan Herald, Bangalore 20-2-1994 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.
The Statesman, Delhi November 1) “Equally controversial has been the wiry-haired Sai Baba who has the country’s who’s who lining up for his darshan at Prashanti Nilayam at Andhra. A 1993 incident in which police shot dead four of his followers and his attendants murdered two was hushed up with intervention from the top the then home minister, SB Chavan. The Baba, who was present when the four were shot dead, was never questioned.”
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.
"The police report was twice changed, from attempt to murder Baba to internal squabbles in Prashanti Nilayam. Mysteriously, Shankar Dayal Sharma, the President of the Indian Republic deviated from protocol and propriety and said that the murders were "all about a girl". When asked why Satya Sai Baba, the head of the Institution in whose bedroom the murders took place, was not interrogated, Home Minister Chavan who visited Sai Baba twice immediately after the incident insisted that Sai Baba was not present at the time of murder, further compromising the investigation. Surprisingly, Prashanti Nilayam authorities themselves filed no police complaint." by G.R.R. Babu, General Secretary, RATIONALIST ASSOCIATION OF INDIA(posted at http://www.nhne.com/specialreports/srsaibaba.html#sex)