Questions of Impropriety
BY: SUN STAFF
Feb 20, 2012 CANADA (SUN) The following collection of four documents, recently provided to the Sampradaya Sun, are related to the ongoing ISKCON Mumbai v. ISKCON Bangalore lawsuit, currently awaiting final disposition before the Supreme Court of India. More specifically, the documents relate to ISKCON's India Regional Governing Body (RGB), known as the ISKCON Bureau, and to the Bureau's empowerment of Dayaram das to pursue legal action against ISKCON Bangalore, Madhu Pandit et al.
They documents also relate to an ongoing inquiry made by members of the GBC Executive Committee (EC) regarding various financial matters, including investments allegedly made by Dayaram das through ISKCON Mayapur. In one document Dayaram das has responded, and has likewise raised questions about matters of concern, which various ISKCON leaders allegedly have some knowledge of.
Given the handwritten notations on the documents, marking them as numbered pages in annexures, all are assumed to be part of the body of documents disclosed to the Court in the legal case, presumably by the Bangalore side. The documents are excerpted below, with complete original copies attached.
The first document is entitled "ISKCON Bureau – Extract Minutes of the Meeting 31st August, 1st Sept and 2nd Sept 2011 – 37th Crescent Corporate Hotel, Bangalore". The document is marked Annexure 19 / pages 405-406.
Under Agenda Item 2 – "Bangalore Temple/Branch situated at Hare Krishna Hill, Rajaji Nagar, Bangalore" is recorded Resolution 2a, which reads:
"Resolved that ISKCON should take all appropriate action in accordance with the law to recover all the assets, funds etc., of ISKCON, both of the Bangalore branch as well as those assets that have been diverted to other entities, and it further directs Dayaram Das to initiate all possible action for the same, as the Bureau has already authorized him for the same.
It is further resolved that Dayaram Das is also authorized at the appropriate time to approach the appropriate forum(s) to initiate criminal cases against Madhu Pandit Das and others who are involved in criminal acts in their attempts to misappropriate the assets, funds, and the operation of ISKCON in Bangalore.
Resolved further that in view of the order of the honorable Supreme Court dated 6th June, 2011 of status quo, Dayaram Das should obtain proper legal advice before initiating any action in this regard."
The second document is a memo dated October 11, 2011 with the subject title, "Regarding the up coming meeting". The document is marked pages 387-388.
This memo is from Dayaram das to Praghosa das, Secretary of the Executive Committee of the GBC, and the ISKCON (India) Bureau Discussions forum on Pamho.net, with copies to the GBC Executive Committee, Badrinarayan das and Gopal Bhatta. The body of the memo appears to contain Dayaram das's response to a letter he received from Praghosa das, date unknown, in which Praghosa das wrote:
"Dear Dayaram prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
As per our recent exchange on this subject (please see below). Until this matter is clarified and hopefully cleared up, it is likely questions will continue to be raised about it. And those questions should be asked – how can a bureau member route personal monies through ISKCON accounts and/or investments given it is illegal to do so…?"
In response, Dayaram das defends his actions as being irregular but not illegal, and offers examples of actions that he suggests do constitute money laundering and other illegal acts, such as child sex abuse, misuse of Visa, etc.
The third document is a memo dated November 11, 2011 with the subject title, "MVT Issue". The document is marked Annexure 17, page 386.
This memo from Dayaram das is addressed to Gopal Krsna Goswami and Bhima das, also sent to
the ISKCON (India) Bureau Discussions forum on Pamho.net. Here, Dayaram das is requesting financial records from the MVT (Mayapur Vrindavana Trust):
"1. Regarding MVT what I would like from the Trustees is Complete Balacne sheet and Income and Exp. Statement from 31 Mar 1978 after SP left the world till now? I undersntand that in 1977 SP left 1 million dollar Guru dakshina money for MVT to take care of Deities installed by SP. So what happened to that money?"
Dayaram das also inquires about the service of Abhiram Das, and makes allegations about misappropriation of $1.3 million USD, requesting that these matters be discussed at an upcoming Bureau meeting.
The fourth document is a memo dated November 18, 2011 with the subject title, "From the GBC EC". The document is marked pages 389-390.
This memo is from the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the GBC, addressed to Bhakti Charu Swami, Bhakti Purusottama Swami, Gopal Krsna Goswami, Jayapataka Swami, Radhanath Swami, Ramai Swami, and Praghosa das. The memo states:
"Dear Maharajas & Prabhu,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
As you know, the GBC Executive Committee has been approached with some questions and concerns regarding Dayarama Prabhu's investments through ISKCON Mayapur. We feel these are very important issues that should be investigated and answered. Below you will find the questions we received. We hope to receive your response soon.
Hrdaya Caitanya Das
Bhakti Caitanya Swami
1. While the practice of ISKCON devotees opening 'accounts' in the ISKCON Mayapur treasury was apparently a normal practice, was investing personal monies through ISKCON mutual investment schemes also a normal practice?
2. If it was a normal practice can you inform us how many devotees invested their personal money through ISKCON mutual investment schemes?
3. The one case we are aware of as a result of the Audit report of 2008, shows an amount of $240,000 invested on behalf of Dayaram das through an ISKCON mutual investment scheme. Can you also confirm how many other devotees invested a similar amount through an ISKCON mutual investment scheme?
4. Given that Dayaram das is an Indian national can you confirm the reasons why he didn't simply invest his money in his own investment scheme and why he chose to invest through an ISKCON mutual investment scheme?
5. The $240,000 that was invested on behalf of Dayaram das through an ISKCON mutual investment scheme, was part of an overall investment of approximately $1.2 million. Can you confirm who authorized that investment? Can you also confirm who else knew about it? Were there MAC members who were aware? Were their Co-Directors who were aware? Were there Mayapur GBC members who were aware?
6. Whoever was aware of this practice, were they also aware that diverting personal monies through ISKCON mutual investment schemes, and then back to the individual concerned, is in breach of Indian charity law and Indian tax law?"
[The investment sums mentioned in item #5 -- $240,000 and $1.2 Million – have been the subject of an ongoing Sun investigation.]