Osho disciple files PIL in HC against ‘fund mismanagement’ in commune

PuneOsho International Meditation Centre at Koregaon Park. File

Within days of the Pune Police registering an FIR against six of the present management committee members of the Osho Commune for allegedly forging Osho's will, Sandeep Kulkarni aka Zorba — an Osho disciple and member of the commune — has filed a PIL in Bombay High Court alleging mismanagement of funds by its present management committee by forming private companies. It also alleged that the committee has been biased towards Indians and bans people from entering the ashram in Koregaon Park — which is against Osho's preaching.

The PIL, which was filed on October 10, has nine of the present management committee members as respondents — Ma Gatha, head of Welcome Center; Ma Vatayana, Global Connection Department; Swami Jayesh aka Michel O'Brian; Swami Amrito aka George Meredith; Swami Yogendra aka D'arcy O'Brian; Swami Dhyanesh Bharti; Swami Mukesh Sarda; Ma Sadhana and Swami Devendra Deol.

The PIL, a copy of which is with Newsline, has alleged that the management has formed private limited companies in London, New York and Zurich, and royalty from Osho's books, audios and videos are siphoned off through them. The PIL has attached a list of 15 such companies from which, the applicant claims, at least three members of the present management committee are benefiting.

It may be noted that one Osho International Foundation (OIF) registered in Zurich, the parent body of the commune, claims to hold copyrights of Osho's published works, and legal battles have been fought, such as the Oshoworld.com case and trademark case in the US, challenging the claims of the foundation.

"The foundation, however, continues to challenge those who make use of the word Osho or his works on the Internet without its approval," said a former member of the commune.

The PIL alleged that the management is acting contrary to Osho's teachings, who said his words should reach the world as soon as possible. "Ma Gatha, Ma Vatayana and Swami Dhyanesh are restricting the entry of many seekers around the world. Now maximum sanyasins do not come to India and even Indian sanyasins keep away from the ashram. Slowly, the Rajneesh Ashram is becoming a private affair for 8-10 people," the PIL stated.

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