Fraud, rape, murder, dirty CDs and brothels… the dark world of fake babas

Ananya Shroff
9 Min Read
Fraud, rape, murder, dirty CDs and brothels… the dark world of fake babas

New Delhi: On one hand science is busy in unraveling the mysteries of Mars and Moon, on the other hand many names like Bhole Baba have spread such illusion in the society that common people are in its grip. Sermons on God are their outer face, but people hardly know how dark their hidden face is. In the name of Bhole Baba, let us try to identify those faces who have serious allegations against them. Some are even in jail. Let us start with those 14 Babas, who were declared as frauds by Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad in the year 2014.

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Asaram Bapu – Until a few years ago, Asaram Bapu was very famous in India. People worshiped him as an incarnation of God. Asaram's real name is Asumal Sirumalani Harpalani. Devotees used to call him Asaram Bapu with reverence. It is estimated that by the year 2013, he had established more than 400 ashrams and 40 schools in India and abroad. There are many serious allegations against him. In December 2017, the All India Akhara Parishad declared Asaram a fake baba. At present, Asaram is facing serious charges like illegal occupation, rape and tampering with a witness. In 2018, a Jodhpur court found Asaram guilty of raping a minor girl. He is currently serving a life sentence in Jodhpur.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim –
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in a rape case in 2017. On 25 August 2017, a CBI special court found him guilty of rape. He was then sentenced to 20 years in prison on 28 August 2017. In January 2019, Ram Rahim and three others were convicted of the murder of journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati. The court sentenced Ram Rahim to life imprisonment in this case. A former sadhu accused the Dera of making 400 sadhus impotent. This claim further fuelled the already raging controversy around Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim.

Radhe Maa – Sukhwinder Kaur aka Radhe Maa was labelled a fake person because of her lifestyle. Her attire, makeup, hugging her devotees and giving them flowers and saying I love you are some of the things that made her the centre of controversies.

Swami Aseemanand – In 2007, he was accused of being involved in three cases including the Mecca Masjid blast and the Samjhauta Express blast in Hyderabad. He also confessed his crime before the police and magistrate. But he was later acquitted by the court.

Rampal Baba –
Baba Rampal, who calls himself a Kabir Panthi, was accused of several crimes including murder, treason, hostage taking and possession of illegal weapons. He was acquitted in two cases, but in 2018, the Hisar court convicted him and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Baba has been in jail since 2014.

Sachchidananda Giri alias Sachin Dutta –
The real name of Sachchidanand Giri is Sachin Dutta. A controversy had erupted when Sachin Dutta alias Sachchidanand, a liquor businessman from Noida, Uttar Pradesh, was made the Mahamandaleshwar of Niranjani Akhara. Giri was given the title of Mahamandaleshwar in Prayag. Sachchidanand also runs a discotheques and real estate business along with beer bars.

Om Baba alias Vivekanand Jha- Om Baba, who was a participant in a reality show and was beaten up and thrown out of the show, his real name is Vivekanand Jha. He has several criminal cases registered against him including bicycle theft. Om Baba has been in controversies many times for making lewd comments on women and his controversial behavior. He has also been involved in scuffles in public places many times.

Nirmal Baba alias Nirmaljit Singh – Nirmal Baba, who claims to bestow God's blessings on his devotees, has been accused of spreading superstition and committing fraud in the name of religion. It is said that Nirmal Baba, who has assets worth crores of rupees, has run many businesses including a brick kiln. This man, whose real name is Nirmaljit Singh, is also accused of giving arbitrary and absurd advice to people.

Ichhadhari Bhimanand alias Shivmurti Dwivedi- Bhimanand Maharaj, who calls himself Ichhadhari Manav, is actually Shivmurti Dwivedi. He has been arrested several times on charges of running a sex racket and fraud. Baba has a grand ashram near Ranipur Tiger Reserve in Chitrakoot.

Narayan Sai- He is the son of Asaram Bapu. Like his father, he is also convicted in a rape case. He is currently in jail.

Acharya Kushmuni – Acharya Kushmuni had once demanded the boycott of Shankaracharyas. He has an ashram in Prayagraj.

Brihaspati Giri – Brihaspati Giri, associated with the Alakhnath Trust of Uttar Pradesh, is accused of trying to take over the temples of the Alakhnath Trust through fraud. He is also accused of murdering the former Mahant of the Trust, Dharm Giri.

Apart from these, the names of Om Namah Shivay Baba and Malkan Giri were also included in the list of Babas declared fake by the Akhada Parishad.

Fugitive Baba Nityananda – Swami Nithyananda, a famous self-proclaimed godman in South India, runs the Nithyananda Dhyandeepam Ashram on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. In 2010, Nithyananda was embroiled in controversy when an alleged sex CD involving him and an actress surfaced. The central forensic lab examined the CD and declared it authentic. However, Nithyananda's ashram produced a report from an American lab, which claimed that the CD had been tampered with.

There were many protests against Nityananda regarding this matter. As a result, he was arrested and released on bail a few days later. In 2019, news came about self-proclaimed Baba Nityananda, who is absconding from India after being accused of sexual abuse, that he has established his own country on an island near Trinidad and Tobago and Ecuador in South America. He has named this country Kailasa. Now he is also involved in international fraud. Recently, a case of his fraud came to light in the South American country Paraguay.

Swami Punyashali –
Vinodanand Jha, also known as Swami Sadachari, was once a prominent spiritual guru. He started his journey by cooking at Chandraswami's house and became a baba himself. Swami Sadachari gained a lot of influence, top leaders of the country started seeking advice from him and performing rituals under his guidance. Later Sadachari got involved in a high profile brokerage case. He was also caught running a brothel. He had to go to jail in this case.

Swami Vikasananda –
Swami Vikasanand whose real name is Vikas Joshi is a self-proclaimed Baba. Baba opened his ashram in Jabalpur and established his roots as a Baba. In 2006, Swami Vikasanand was arrested on charges of sexually harassing minor girls. Police also recovered pornographic CDs from Baba's ashram. He was sent to jail in 2010 after a hearing in a fast track court.

Case filed against Indian origin Baba in Britain –
A case of sexual abuse has been registered against Indian-origin fraud Baba Rajinder Kalia in Britain. Rajinder Kalia, who claims to be God, has been accused of rape by his former disciples. It is alleged that he has raped his disciples at least 1300 times. The case has been registered in the High Court of Britain.

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