Bengaluru: Spiritual guru 'Kalki bhagwan,' a self-styled godman who claims to be the 10th 'avatar' of Vishnu, had hoarded as much as Rs 93 crore in cash at his ashram and at other premises as well as an estimated Rs 409 crore of unaccounted wealth, the Income Tax department said in a press release on Friday.
The department had conducted raids in almost 40 premises at different locations primarily in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu that are owned by 'Kalki Bhagwan' and his son Krishna. Simultaneous raids are on in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Varadaiahpalem near Chittoor on the border of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh where his ashram is located.
"The group founded by (this) spiritual guru in the 1980s with 'oneness' philosophy has also diversified into several sectors, including real estate, construction, sports, etc., in India and abroad. (This) conglomerate of trusts and companies run year-round 'wellness courses' and training programmes in philosophy, spirituality, etc., at various sprawling residential campuses. The courses attract residential customers from abroad and the group earns substantial receipts in foreign exchange. There was intelligence that the group had been suppressing its receipts, which are ploughed into investment in huge tracts of landed property in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and in investments abroad," the statement said.
The department said during the search, considerable evidence was found of the ashram regularly suppressing its donations at its various branches — that staff had been keeping cash collections outside of the account books and earned 'black' money from selling property over and above the documented values. Huge stashes of cash, in foreign currency, have been seized from the ashram, apart from the Rs 43 crore in rupees.
"US currency alone seized is about $2.5 million (approximately Rs 18 crore), while foreign currency has also been seized. About 88 kg of undeclared gold jewellery, valued at Rs 26 crore, diamonds amount to 1,271 carats worth about Rs 5 crore, have also been seized. The undisclosed income of the group detected so far is estimated at more than Rs 500 crore," the statement added.
A former clerk of the Life Insurance Corporation, 70-year-old Vijay Kumar started an institution called the 'Jeevashram' school in the mid-1980s for an alternative form of education for his disciples. He also started the 'Oneness Univeristy' at his Chittoor campus, which counts among its patrons many actors and businessmen.
In the 1990s, Kumar proclaimed himself to be 'Kalki,' the last of the 'dasaavatars' of Vishnu, and attracted a cult following for his discourses on enlightenment. His wife Padmavati and son NKV Krishna have been partners in running this trust, with the latter allegedly dealing with most of the financial transactions.
The search and seizure operations of the IT department, which began on Wednesday, are still continuing.