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‘Gifting’ lands OIF on murky grounds

‘Gifting’ lands OIF on murky grounds
Jagran City, 15 October 2011

When the rumours of the erstwhile sale of the Osho International Meditation Resort, estimated at Rs.1,000 crore spread over an area of 28 acres, it created ripples amongst the residents of Koregaon Park.

Osho International Foundation (OIF) was dragged into yet another controversy because of the petition filed by Yogesh Thakker and Kishore Raval before the Charity Commissioner at Mumbai alleging that OIF was making an attempt to sell the trust premises to politically influenced persons from Pune and Mumbai. Ma Amrit Sadhana, spokesperson of OIF, talking to Cityplus stated that no application was made to sell property of the meditation resort.

On digging further into the matter, Cityplus found that there had indeed been an application (number 87/11) filed by trustee of Osho International Foundation (OIF) Mukesh Sarda at the office of the Honourable Charity Commissioner at Mumbai, dated September 19, 2011. This application is filed by OIF to transfer the portion of trust property by way of gift to Darshan Trust, a public charitable trust situated in New Delhi under Section 36 of Public Charitable Trust Act 1950. When questioned about Darshan Trust, Ma Sadhana in an elusive reply said, “It is one of the trusts who is helping us” and did not give any further information. Cityplus found that the trust is registered at A-34, Defence Colony, New Delhi and carried the name plate of B V Taneja. A phone call to the Darshan Trust was answered by a lady who claimed that she had never heard of the trust and then the phone was put on hold. The second person who came on the line confirmed that it was the registered office of Darshan Trust and identified herself to be Ramni Taneja. She said that she was a lawyer and that she was just the postal address for the trust and that the trustees were based in Pune. She asked Cityplus to “speak to one of the trustees, Mukesh Sarda who is in Pune.” Mukesh Sarda incidentally happens to also be a trustee of OIF who has filed an application on behalf of OIF wanting to gift gifts of Six (6) Units in Little Woods Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. admeasuring total area of approximately 6,611.82 sq ft situated at Plot No. 22, Koregaon Park, Pune 411001 to Darshan Trust, a Public Charitable Trust having its registered office at A-34, Defence Colony, New Delhi-110 024. Meanwhile the petitioners, Yogesh Thakkar alias Swami Prem Geet and Kishor Raval alias Swami Prem Anadi, have appealed to OIF not to create or cause to create any third party interests in the properties by the way of sell, gift, lease, easement, endowment or otherwise. “These properties and its benefit factors belong to Osho followers who have created it in the presence of Osho with their time, money and dedication. This objection includes all the infrastructure developments which have taken place in the said trusts premises,” the appeal says.

When Cityplus spoke to Ma Sadhana, she labelled the allegations of the sale as just rumours and that few individuals (Sanyasins) outside the resort were trying to influence media. She clarified that there has been no application made to sell the property of the meditation resort and “with the permission of the Charity Commissioner our property No. 9, has a mortgage against a small bank loan for renovations and upgrades that have occurred over the last three years including substantial costs to implement a world class security system.” When Cityplus spoke to Kishor Raval, he said that the application for gifting part of Osho Ashram was in contradiction of the statements made by Ma Amrit Sadhna. “Our question is that if they are mortgaging ashram property No. 9 to raise funds for renovation and upgradation, then why this generous act of gifting is required?” The Objectors explained that the followers of Osho have been witnessing, changes happening within the Meditation Resort. “People in the resort have suddenly become secretive; they indiscriminately banned people entering the meditation resort on basis of asking too many questions, the entry fee, etc.

The Objectors had mentioned Michael O’Byrne, alias Swami Jayesh, George Meredith, alias Swami Amrito, and Darcy O’Byrne, alias Swami Yogendra, as leaders of the Osho faction that took full control of the Osho trusts after the mystic’s controversial death at his Pune commune on January 19, 1990 whereupon, Ma Sadhana, justified these three people were personally appointed as Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Inner Circle by Osho. Replying to this, Raval said, “We heartily appreciate presence and contributions of Swami Jayesh, Amrito and Yogendra. Respectively, we would like to have list of Inner Circle members and period of their tenure holding membership of Osho’s Inner Circle since its inception.”

Rawal added that the resort needed to end commercialization and monopolization of Osho’s premises, articles and intellectual property rights. He said that in their application to the Charity Commissioner, they had mentioned that “The said foundation (OIF) is mismanaged and there are efforts of conversion of the same into a private resort company for private benefits, the said trustees have established a company named Osho Multimedia and Resorts Pvt Ltd, wherein the trustees are the directors of the said company established for commercial gains.”

“Our contention is that all development in the OIF property is done by thousands of Osho disciples from around the world by contributing their time, money, labor and dedication to Osho during and after Osho,” Raval said. He also stressed upon the fact that the Foundation should declare income and expenditure accounts in respect of earning of Osho’s intellectual property rights. Section 36 of the BPT Act, 1950, states that ‘pre-sanction of charity commissioner for sale/mortgage of immovable property of public trust is must irrespective of whatever is mentioned in the bye-laws of the trust’.

The Objectioners’ petition stated that the Pune properties of the Osho Foundation represented a spiritual home for the Osho community worldwide and if such sale/gifting was allowed by the charity commissioner then, it would cause a great loss to Osho’s legacy which he had left for the mankind.

Osho in Poona

On March 21, 1974, 21 years after enlightenment, Osho moved to Koregaon Park, Poona, where two residences in adjoining properties of six acres were purchased.


Osho International was first known as and functioned as Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, in 1974 and was merged to Rajneesh Foundation, which was later merged into two foundations, Osho International Foundation and Neo Sanyas Foundation.

— Sangeeta Jain, Prachi Bari, Renuka Suryavanshi





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