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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

IT seizes Rs 33 cr from premises of godman Kalki Bhagwan and son

The Income Tax raids which began on Wednesday are expected to continue on Friday.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2019 05:38 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Besides cash, IT officers also seized incriminating documents about  Kalki Bhagwan’s shady investments and purchase of vast tracts of land in Tamil Nadu and even in Kenya in violation of rules, officials said.
Besides cash, IT officers also seized incriminating documents about Kalki Bhagwan’s shady investments and purchase of vast tracts of land in Tamil Nadu and even in Kenya in violation of rules, officials said.(Sonu Mehta/HT FILE )
         

In a major operation, Income Tax sleuths seized Rs 33 crore, including US dollars worth Rs 9 crore of unaccounted cash during simultaneous raids on 40 premises of controversial self styled godman, Kalki Bhagwan, and his son Krishna’s business ventures in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, IT Department sources said.

Around 300 IT personnel are involved in the searches which commenced early on Wednesday morning continued through Thursday and are expected to last till Friday, officials familiar with the development maintained.

Besides cash, IT officers also seized incriminating documents about shady investments and purchase of vast tracts of land in Tamil Nadu and even in Kenya in violation of rules, officials said.

The raids followed intelligence inputs about tax evasion and financial embezzlement. Besides the sprawling headquarters of Kalki Bhagwan near Chittoor bordering Tamil Nadu, searches were also on at 20 places in Chennai and other premises in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, IT officials said.

Kalki’s son Krishna, who is managing the ‘Oneness Temple,’ a spiritual university with ultra modern facilities at the headquarters which attracts devotees from far and near, also runs a few construction firms in the name of While Lotus, Golden Lotus, Blue Water and Dream View among others.

Krishna, who resides in Chennai, is said to have invested heavily in the business ventures of his associates, which too have come under the scanner. According to sources, nearly 20 of Krishna’s business associates are under investigation.

Even as the raids are on, IT sleuths have confined Krishna at his office in the upmarket Nunagambakkam area in Chennai and are questioning him about the source of investments in the purchase of land in the country and abroad, sources said.

The 70-year-old Kalki Bhagwan alias Vijay Kumar Naidu, born at Ullanatham village near Gudiyattam in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, started his life as a clerk with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). According to some accounts he was only an LIC agent.

He quit that to be an administrator in ‘Jeevashram’, an educational institution established in 1984, to provide alternative education at Rajupeta. It was here that he took his spiritual avatar and in 1989 declared himself as Kalki, the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu and his wife as the incarnation of the lord’s consort.

‘Kalki Bhagwan’, as he called himself, has sprawling ashrams in Tamil Nadu and Adhra Pradesh.

His promise of delivering instant ‘nirvana’ had gone down well and he counts rich Indians and NRIs among his followers. While his devotees attribute many miracles to him, he has his share of critics who have raised questions.

The Chittoor ashram also hit the headlines in 2008 when five people died and many were injured in a stampede.

At the ashram, an ordinary darshan of the couple is priced at Rs 5000 and special darshan at Rs 50000. Similarly, the meditation classes offered at Oneness Temple starts from Rs 50000 onwards and these sessions attract a huge number of foreigners.

The self styled godman also faces allegations of land grabbing besides charges of drug and sexual abuse as well as forced monkhood, which his devotees have rebutted in the past. In 2010, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had also heard a batch of petitions that sought action against him. There is no clarity on the outcome of the inquiry that was ordered.

There has been no reaction from the ashram to the tax raids. HT’s attempts to get a response from Kalki ashram also proved futile.