This is even as Sarda, on behalf of the OIF, has made another application to the charity commissioner in Mumbai to gift the 6,611-square-foot ‘Osho Sanai’ property on Plot No. 22 in Koregaon Park, to the same trust.
Two Osho followers — Yogesh Thakkar (Swami Prem Geet) and Kishor Raval (Swami Prem Anadi) — who contested this application along with another disciple, Nitin Phulphagar (Swami Nitin Bharati) in challenging various activities of the OIF, made the startling discovery of the first gift application recently.
Certified documents from the charity commissionerate, in the possession of DNA show that in December 2010, the OIF applied to the charity commissioner seeking permission under section 36(1)(a) of the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950, to gift plot CTS No.3 in Koregaon Park to Darshan Trust, located at A-34, Defence Colony, New Delhi.
This plot, measuring 5,387 square metres in Lane No1 in Koregaon Park, presently serves as an expansive parking lot for the Osho International Meditation Resort, which has a number of properties in this area. The market value of this plot of land is estimated at more than Rs35 crore.
The proposal to gift the land was sanctioned and approved by the charity commissioner, MK Chaure, on March 17, 2011. According to the OIF application, the trustees of Darshan Trust approached OIF “for some space to expand and carry out its activities in Pune” and this matter was discussed in detail by the OIF trustees during a meeting on December 1, 2010.
During this meeting, Sarda stated that the OIF had excess space on CTS No 3 in Koregaon Park plot “which at the moment is not required” by the foundation. Besides, the OIF was incurring expenses on the maintenance of this plot without deriving any income from it.
The application stated that “after detailed discussion and deliberation it was unanimously resolved that it would be in the interest of the OIF and in furtherance of its objects to donate the Plot CTS No 3 in Koregaon Park, Pune, that is available and not required by the foundation to Darshan Trust, subject to the approval and sanction of the office of the charity commissioner.”
The condition laid down was that the stamp duty, registration charges and other expenses towards the alienation of the property would be borne by Darshan Trust and that the entire process of gifting the property would be handled by Mukesh Sarda.
While the trustees of Darshan Trust were identified as Vidya Khubchandani and Anandkumar Awasthi, those of OIF were identified as Mukesh Sarda, Devendra Singh Deval, Sadhana Belapurkar and Lal Pratap Singh.
In his application, Sarda stated that the OIF was not issuing any public notice about its proposal to gift the property as “the trustees have unanimously resolved to donate the said property to another public trust having similar objects…”
He also stated that no valuation report of the property was obtained as the property was being donated to carry out charitable activities. After conducting a hearing in Sarda’s presence, the proposal was sanctioned and approved by the charity commissioner by his order dated March 17, 2011.
The OIF controls the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune, spread out over 35 acres of prime property in Koregaon Park. Osho’s samadhi with his ashes is located on these premises.
Originally established on a 5-acre plot after the then Acharya Rajneesh moved base from Mumbai to Pune in the mid 1970s, the erstwhile Osho Commune gradually expanded to its current size.
Pune: Once again, disturbing facts have come to light with regard to the Osho International Foundation (OIF), which controls valuable assets, including an estimated Rs 1,000 crore worth of prime property, and which conducts its affairs in high secrecy.
The government and the citizens need to decide whether there is need to demand greater transparency from OIF, whether Osho's samadhi in Koregaon Park needs to be opened to the public, and whether the properties of this trust should be nationalised to safeguard the interests of Osho's followers.
Ever since the spiritual mystic, Osho Rajneesh, died in Pune on January 19, 1990, one controversy after another has been dogging the OIF. First, Osho's followers split into two factions, with one group (led by three foreigners) taking full control of the OIF properties. The other group, comprising mainly Indians, left the commune on their own or were forced to do so.
The two factions clashed bitterly over OIF's attempt to copyright Osho meditations and intellectual property, but this was rejected by a US court.
While the OIF has certainly beautified the premises and transformed it into an international meditation resort, not all are happy with the changes. Access to the premises is highly restricted, daily entry fee has been increased sharply and many traditions discontinued.
OIF's latest bid to gift a valuable property of nearly Rs 8 crore to an obscure Darshan Trust in New Delhi has not only been challenged by Osho's followers, but has also revealed links between OIF and this trust.
Clearly, someone needs to move the government or the courts to protect what belongs to the community of Osho's followers before it is too late.
Pune: In a move that has triggered a raging controversy among the followers of Osho Rajneesh, the Osho International Foundation (OIF) has applied to the charity commissioner, Mumbai, seeking permission to "gift" prime property, valued at Rs 8 crore, to an unknown trust in Delhi.
This has agitated a large section of Osho's followers, who have accused the OIF of surreptitiously trying to dispose of valuable real estate meant for the propagation of Osho's philosophy.
While two of Osho followers — Yogesh Thakkar (Swami Prem Geet) and Kishor Raval (Swami Prem Anadi) — have challenged the OIF application to the charity commissionerate, another disciple, Nitin Phulphagar (Swami Nitin Bharati), has joined them in challenging various activities of the OIF.
All three have questioned this gift deed application, at a time when the OIF spokesperson, Amrit Sadhana, admitted to mortgaging property no. 9 against a bank loan to raise funds for renovation and upgradation.
The application signed by OIF trustee Mukesh Sarda (September 19, 2011) has been made under section 36(1)(a) of the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. It proposes to gift "six units" in Little Woods Co-op Housing Society, plot number 22, Koregaon Park, to New Delhi-based Darshan Trust with its registered office at A-34, Defence Colony.
The property is named 'Osho Sanai' with single-storey bungalows in Lane 1. The OIF application states that the trustees of Darshan Trust had approached OIF "with a request for some space to accommodate the teachers and participants of its activities in Pune". Since the objectives of the Darshan Trust and the OIF are similar, the matter was discussed in detail at a meeting of the trustees on August 14, 2011, the application states.
At that meeting, OIF trustee, Mukesh Sarda, informed that the 6,611-square-foot property at Koregaon Park Plot No. 22 was "excess space", which was not required by the OIF to fulfill its objectives. Also, that the OIF was incurring expenses to maintain and repair this property without deriving any income from it.
It was decided unanimously at this meeting that the property would be donated to Darshan Trust subject to the approval and sanction of the charity commissioner and provided the stamp duty, registration and other expenses towards the alienation of the property was borne by Darshan Trust.
The aims and objectives of Darshan Trust were stated as education, teaching of yoga, meditation and philosophy and medical relief, among other activities of public utility.
According to the application, in 1997, this property comprising six units in Little Woods Co-op Housing Society Ltd, was received as gift by six different foundations. The 10-page application states that a number of trusts were amalgamated in the OIF at various points of time, "for better administration and management and carrying out the common activities of the trusts…"
Thus, in 1996, Blue Lotus Trust was amalgamated into OIF, and in 2003, five trusts — Satyam Foundation, Shivam Foundation, Maneesha Trust, Sambhodhi Foundation and Sundaram Foundation — were amalgamated with OIF. In 2008, Abhilasha Foundation was merged into OIF, and in 2011 the Dhyan Foundation followed suit. The trustees of OIF were stated as Mukesh Sarda, Devendra Singh Dewal, Sadhana Belapurkar and Lal Pratap Singh.
The OIF controls the Osho International Meditation Resort, formerly the Osho Commune, and related activities spread over nearly 35 acres of land in Koregaon Park.(Top) The 'Osho Sanai' property at Lane No.1 Koregaon Park which the Osho International Foundation wants to gift to the New Delhi-based Darshan Trust located at A-34, Defence Colony; Kishor Raval, alias Swami Prem Anadi (left) and Yogesh Thakkar (alias Swami Prem Geet) who have challenged Osho International Foundation's application to the charity commissioner —Rajesh Rao.
Pune: The property dispute around the Osho International Meditation Resort's (erstwhile Osho Commune) estimated Rs 1,000-crore real estate in Pune has triggered a worldwide networking buzz among Osho's followers after an exclusive report by DNA on Sunday.
Many followers from across the country and abroad have expressed eagerness to protect the property from land sharks with strong political connections in Pune and Mumbai, in response to a petition filed by two Osho followers with the charity commissioner in Mumbai.
"We have been receiving calls and messages from Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai and even abroad, pledging support in our fight to protect the Osho trust properties in Pune," said Yogesh Thakkar (alias Swami Prem Geet), one of the petitioners against the application by the Osho International Foundation (OIF).
Thakkar, who was present — along with his co-petitioner, Kishore Raval (alias Swami Prem Anadi) — while speaking to DNA, said they felt overwhelmed by the support from Osho's followers to their initiative to demand transparency in the OIF activities in Pune.
As reported by DNA on Sunday, the two petitioners filed on Wednesday last raised serious objections to OIF's application No. 87/11 [P.T.R. No. F 14570 (M)] filed under section 36 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950.
Section 36 of the BPT Act states that "pre-sanction of charity commissioner for sale or mortgage of immovable property of public trust is must, irrespective of whatever is mentioned in the by-laws of the trust".
Their petition states that three prominent trustees of the OIF, all foreigners, were attempting "to sell the trust premises in Pune to politically influenced persons from Pune and Mumbai".
These three individuals were identified in the petition as Michael O'Byrne (alias Swami Jayesh), George Meredith (alias Swami Amrito) and Darcy O'Byrne (Swami Yogendra), leaders of the Osho faction which took full control of the Osho trusts after the mystic's controversial death in his Pune commune on January 19, 1990.
Raising serious objections over the functioning of the Osho trusts Thakkar — who was initiated into sanyas personally by Osho Rajneesh in 1979 — told DNA that the entire decision making lies in the hands of just 3-4 individuals. "Just three foreigners are taking all the decisions and everyone else has been systematically deleted (sic)," he said.
While demanding that the decision-making in the Osho trusts be expanded and democratised, Thakkar and Raval alleged that the common man's access to the Osho Commune, renamed Osho International Meditation Resort, had been made difficult.
"There's an entry fee of Rs 1,000 per day for foreigners and Rs 480 for Indians. There's additional cost for food and other facilities," he said, while demanding that the Osho premises be available to the people at "a reasonable cost such as Rs 100 per day."
When asked by DNA, OIF spokesperson Amrit Sadhana acknowledged that spending a day at the Osho resort would cost about Rs 1,000 per person, which was comparable to lunch in a star hotel or a visit to a multiplex. "These charges include access to more than six meditations in the auditorium which is air-conditioned, besides other facilities," she said.
Thakkar also demanded that Osho's Samadhi, where his ashes have been buried in what was his bedroom at the time of his death, be called as such by the Osho trust authorities. He alleged that the word "samadhi" was being deliberately erased by the authorities to make it easy to sell the property in future or use it for other purposes.
The OIF spokesperson Sadhana vehemently denied this charge. "We do not say that he is dead and therefore we don't use the word samadhi," she said.
Spread over nearly 35 acres, the Osho International Meditation Resort in upmarket Koregaon Park bears special significance for Osho's followers as this was where he did his life's work and where his samadhi with his ashes is located.