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Real Scabs and their Fake Stings

September 16, 2013

In several of our earlier posts titled “Scabs beneath the serenity” (parts I to V), we demonstrated with clear facts and information how Imran Khan of the TEHELKA magazine had ignored certain important pieces of information, for reasons best known to him, that would have helped him to present a completely different and factual article about the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

We have now got possession of a series of key documents – in addition to those presented here before – that were also handed over by the Ashram to Imran Khan and TEHELKA, which were once again ignored and kept out of their story.

Those who are familiar with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the issues concerning it are disappointed with Imran Khan’s piece not only because it is rife with baseless allegations made by the usual bunch of personally motivated, disgruntled scabs of the Ashram, but because these allegations are as stale as the accusations that are contained in the copy of the video of the sting operation that was supposedly conducted by the news network CNN-IBN in the year 2008. The alleged malpractices in the Ashram reported by Imran Khan were also sought to be exposed several months before the controversy about Peter Heehs’ book had erupted in the Ashram, in the same year of 2008 (the relation between the two seemingly unrelated incidents, occurring in the same year, might be worth exploring!).

In recent times, the copy of the video of the CNN-IBN sting operation, supposedly containing ‘proof’ of alleged malpractices in the Ashram, has turned out to be a constant point of reference for Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade, R.Y. Deshpande and other anti-Ashram elements in their crusade against the Ashram trustees. The allegations contained in this video are treated as gospel truth by these anti-Ashram scabs. Sraddhalu Ranade swears by the authenticity of this video during his anti-Ashram lecture tours which he conducts in and out of the country which also includes the raising and collecting of funds for his anti-Ashram campaigns. Vishnulalit, an inmate of the Ashram who has joined these anti-Ashram scabs has also submitted a copy of the CNN-IBN video to the Collector of the Puducherry Government because he believes that the video is a vital piece of evidence for the inquiry into the Ashram’s affairs that these anti-Ashram elements are demanding.

The dubious circumstances surrounding the CNN-IBN video sting operation were described in great detail by us last year (see the “The sting that stung back“Parts 1 to 4). However there were several questions about the video of this sting operation that were still unanswered. How and why was such a video sting operation conducted against the Ashram by the news network CNN-IBN? Why did CNN-IBN chose to take it off the air at the 11th hour? If the video was never aired, how did Sraddhalu Ranade and Vishnulalit get a copy of this video? Did CNN-IBN conduct the sting operation and the interviews that are contained in the video or were these videos created by someone else who spoon-fed them ready-made to CNN-IBN, much the same way in which Imran Khan was spoon-fed information prepared by the usual bunch of personally motivated, disgruntled scabs of the Ashram?

Basing ourselves on authentic copies of the correspondence exchanged between the Ashram Trust and CNN-IBN we now know for certain that CNN-IBN did not give copies of the video of the sting operation to anyone! 

We present here the copy of the letter from the S.A.A. Trust to CNN-IBN:

To CNN-IBN for clarifiction Vishnulalit

Copies of the three letters mentioned in the letter above, exchanged during 15.03.2008 and 31.05.2008 between the respective counsels can also be viewed here:

15th March 2008, Copy of Letter from Sanjay Parikh to CNN-IBN

2nd April 2008, Copy of Letter from CNN-IBN To Sanjay Parikh

31st May 2008, Copy of Letter from Sanjay Parikh to CNN-IBN

We now present here the copy of the letter and response from CNN-IBN to the S.A.A. Trust:

Reply from CNN-IBN to SAAT

As CNN-IBN did not telecast the program in question and never gave a copy of the same to anyone, the most plausible account that explains how scabs like Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade, R.Y. Deshpande and Vishnulalit could have a copy of this video is if they or their anti-Ashram associates had in reality created parts or much of this video even before CNN-IBN came into the picture. If our reasonable assumptions that are based on the available documents are wrong, we invite the real anti-Ashram scabs to disclose the source of their video, failing which there are good reasons to believe that like many of the lies that they have spread, their treasured video too contains nothing more than a faked sting operation.


– Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram – 

  1. Selva permalink

    Here I read that the SAAT first found out about this story on March 14th 2008, just one day before the proposed airing of this “Devine Trap” (oh, the irony!).
    In “The Genesis of a Controversy” I read: “A two-page document, “The Role of Peter Heehs in the Archives,” was submitted to the Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram around the beginning of September, 2008. This was perhaps the first definite act of hostility in what quickly grew into a full-blown campaign against Heehs. It was soon followed by several longer and in some cases even more virulent letters which were widely circulated to mobilize opinion and force the Trustees to take action. This letter by colleagues of Heehs in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives is of special interest, not only because it seems to have marked the beginning of what would soon become a raging controversy, but because it shows clearly the personal nature of the attacks on the biographer.”

    My conclusion now: it was not just a personnel attack against Peter Heehs and his book but it was part of a larger offensive against the SAAT and the Ashram in general.

  2. An Observer permalink

    “The alleged malpractices in the Ashram reported by Imran Khan were also sought to be exposed several months before the controversy about Peter Heehs’ book had erupted in the Ashram, in the same year of 2008 (the relation between the two seemingly unrelated incidents, occurring in the same year, might be worth exploring!).”

    In all likelihood, the two incidents, i.e. the fake CNN-IBN sting and the controversy surrounding Peter Heehs’ book were both stage-managed, part of the same larger plan to oust the trustees. PH’s book was not written overnight. His colleagues in the archives like Raman Reddy and Ranganath Raghavan who are also spearheading the anti-trust movements, would have known about PH’s book long before it was published in the end of the year 2008. Several people in the Ashram had also read portions of the book and nobody ever objected to it. During this period, the enemies of the Ashram trustees would have had plenty of time to hatch their plans to use PH’s book as a pretext to attack the trustee with greater vigor and vengeance, just a few months after the incident and frustration of the failed CNN-IBN sting.

    One must also not forget that ‘senior’ Ashramites like Kittu Reddy, RY Deshpande have been behind most of the efforts to overthrow the trustees, since decades. Their preferred instruments have been the spreading of rumors, misinformation, lies and falsehood which are ever-present in all that they do. The hall mark of the recent anti-trust actions include all of these.

    With the involvement of crafty con-men like Sraddhalu Ranade and his old buddy Jayanta Bhattacharya, the level of dirty tricks has been lowered to an altogether new low. The involvement of politicians and the public slandering on roadside posters carries their distinct signature of hitting below belt as hard as they can with the help and use of big money.

    But last and not least, much of all this could happen also because Chief Ideologue of the fundamentalist side of the SA Society, Vijay Poddar and his cronies like Gopal Bhattacharya (Jayanta’s father) were never too far away while the Ashram was being assaulted, extending their ‘occult’ support to these anti-Ashram elements, issuing ‘fatwas’ against PH’s book, inciting their study centers across India to agitate against the Ashram by sending Sraddhalu Ranade as their unofficial emissary. Lest we forget, Sunil Sachraj, one of the protagonists in the CNN-IBN video, who claims to be a victim of sexual harassment but is better known as a sexual predator himself, undesired both at the Ashram and Auroville, is none other than a protege of the SA Society.

    The pieces of the puzzle are all coming together. As time goes by, it is increasingly evident that those against the Ashram trust are fitting together perfectly. They may try to hide or deny it, but from the vantage point we all find ourselves in today, the picture is very clear.

    An Observer

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