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What is the dispute over sale of Osho ashram properties in an upscale Pune neighbourhood

What is the dispute over sale of Osho ashram properties in an upscale Pune neighbourhood | Written by Shalmali Bhagwat , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 8, 2022 10:04:12 pm
The rift among Osho’s followers can be traced back to 2013, when Yogesh Thakkar, a disciple, filed a complaint with the Pune Police alleging Osho’s (Bhagwan Rajneesh) will was forged.

The Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune is in the eye of the storm again, after a set of his followers last month moved the Bombay High Court against the Joint Charity Commissioner Mumbai, who has invited fresh bids for the sale of the two plots belonging to the ashram in upmarket Koregaon Park.

Yogesh Thakkar, a follower, alleged that their earlier objections regarding the sale of the property by the Osho International Foundation are pending before the Joint Charity’s Commissioner’s office, and so fresh bids cannot be called.

Who owns the Osho centre and why do they want to sell it?

Osho Meditation Centre in Pune is a trust whose ownership is split between Neo Sanyasas and Osho International Foundation. The ashram received the status of a trust in 1998 after changing its name to Neo Sanyas Foundation from Rajneesh Foundation. It was originally established as Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in 1969. Mukesh Kantilal Sarda, Devendra Singh Deval, Sadhana Belapurkar and Lal Pratap Singh are the present trustees of the Osho International Foundation.

The assets of the trust swelled over time. In 2008, the trust Abhilasha Foundation and Osho International Foundation merged into one. In 2011, Dhyan foundation was merged into the Osho International Foundation. With every merger, all movable and immovable assets of the organisation were taken under the wings of Osho International Foundation.

In 2020, the Osho International Foundation filed an application with the additional charity commissioner, saying it was in financial distress as Covid-19 and the consequent restrictions around foreign travel had disrupted the steady stream of funds from foreign visitors. It proposed to sell off part of its assets — two plots, each about 1.5 acres which house a swimming pool and a tennis court — and the highest bidder was Rajivnayan Rahulkumar Bajaj and Rishab Family Trust, at Rs 107 crore. The trust passed a resolution on November 30, 2020 to sell the property rights and enter into an MoU with Bajaj.

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