News Story

Unfulfilled promises

by Aditi Taman/ Merwyn Almeida (September 1-15-2010)

“Woh Buddha toh din bhar alovera ki cream apne chehre pe lagake rakhta hai. Subah uthkar Ammway ki protein aur nau goliya khata hai takat ke liye. Yeh kaise Maharaj hai” said Sadhvi Sandeepa Rajput aka Hemanand Bhramachari, 30 from, Naziabad Uttarakhand. A month ago, Sadhvi¬†had appro-ached Beyond the News for spilling the beans about Maharaj Govinda Brahmachari (87) and his atrocities made towards her. BTN team left for Talegaon, Pune for probing this issue. After reaching Sadhvi's cottage, the BTN team found three cupboards were placed which acted as partition. Towards the left hand side, there is a small platform which was utilised for keeping the utensils, cylinder and stove. In the centre of the room, there was a double bed, portable VCD players and two high-end mobile phones next to bed with photographs of several deities.

When BTN team inquired with Sadhvi from where did she acquire all the luxuries as she had chosen to live a spiritual life “My followers are impressed with my teaching and they offer me such luxuries.” While pursuing her studies at Hardiwar University, Sadhvi was searching for a guru who could guide her towards the right path. At the Kumb-mela held in Haridwar, Sadhvi came across Swami Ganesh who introduced her to Maharaj Govinda Brahmachari. Maharaj too was searching for a female Sadhvi. Initially Sadhvi was impressed with Maharaj who promised to make her the custodian of the temple based in Talegaon. She was reluctant to leave Haridwar. However, Maharaj convinced Sadhvi and she changed her mind and decided to shift to Talegaon, Pune. Maharaj had considered Sadhvi as his daughter and also had decided to transfer the property in her name. However, he didn't make any commitment about it. Maharaj never trusted Sadhvi. He used to keep money beneath Sadhvi's bed to check her honesty but she returned it. Before having food, Sadhvi used to (bhog) make an offering to god as a part of ritual. However, Maharaj never supported this act and used to demoralise Sadhvi.

Sadhvi and Maharaj left for Delhi on 22nd May 2010. In the middle of the journey Maharaj tried to get closer with Sadhvi. Initially, Sadhvi didn't say anything but when Maharaj continued with his acts, she strongly objected to it and asked him to look for some other woman. Govindanand apologised to Sadhvi and confessed that he was only trying to test her modesty. Later, Maharaj took Sadhvi to Maruti temple in Dasturi village instead of Talegaon. When Sadhvi inquired with Maharaj about the temple, he told her that the shrine was still under construction and will take another 6 to 8 months to complete. Maharaj asked Sadhvi to stay in the kitchen of the temple and didn't assign her any privacy. When Sadhvi was taking bath Govindanand also tried to enter inside on the pretext of using lavatory, so she left hurriedly. With the passage of time, such incidents became a regular affair. In order to avoid a repeat of such incidents Sadhvi started taking bath in kitchen. There was no respite for Sadhvi as Maharaj started peeping from the ventilation near the window. Even though Sadhvi had requested Maharaj to make a partition, he turned a blind eye towards it. On the eve of Guru Purnima on July 25th all priests and villagers decided to perform rituals. As per tradition, a person seeking Diksha must wear new clothes and undergarments. On this occasion, Govindanand threw sleazy questions at her modesty. She was scandalised, became frustrated and assaulted Maharaj in front of all the villagers. Dejected Sadhvi said “When I was bathing Maharaj knocked the kitchen's door and inquired with me about the size of my bra. I was shocked and refused to answer. Maharaj had asked me to wear undergarments too and he had sent a person to purchase it from the market. However, I refused and claimed that I would go out and buy it myself. Maharaj threatened to fondle my breast to know its size. After I came out of bathroom, I hit Maharaj on his face.” Sadhavi also claimed of having an audio recording of Maharaj stating that “Tumhari jaisi anek shishyoo ka bhrashtychar hota hai.” She also said that Maharaj used to view pornographic material every time.

Maharaj's advocate Elfes tried to cajole Sadhvi but in vain. He also asked Sadhvi to have illicit relations with Maharaj. Later Sadhvi filed a complaint against Maharaj at Khopoli police station. In the complaint Sadhvi had alleged Maharaj for failing to provide accommodation and amenities. She stated that Maharaj had a habit of going gaga over the things he offered to her. He gifted gold to Sadhvi, Maharaj had made a huge publicity about it. Later, Maharaj asked Sadhvi to return the gold. He also gave utensils to Sadhvi but took them back the very next day. Sadhvi asked Maharaj to mend his ways and also threatened to expose him in front of the media. However, Maharaj never took this threat seriously and made comments like “Do whatever you want. Nobody can take action against me and even CM is my follower.” Maharaj had threatened to throw Sadhvi out of the house with the help of police. He also claimed to be a master of black magic and threatened to perform such acts on Sadhvi. At times, Sadhvi had to walk three kilometres to shop for basic amenities in Khandala. Sometimes she used to receive help from villagers. However, Sadhvi has not lost hope and has decided to fight back until she gets justice. She wants Maharaj to fulfil his promise of making her the custodian of Talegaon temple. BTN team spoke with villagers of Dasturi who have objections against female staying in Hanuman temple. They also protested against Maharaj for doing injustice against Sadhvi and have decided to fight against Maharaj. They had helped Sadhvi for acquiring utensils, gas stove and cylinder. According to villagers Maharaj does not allow any person to enter the temple premises after 8pm. Every year villagers used to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti in the temple. After Maharaj's entry into the village, he started interfering with the activities of temple. He enforced restrictions on villagers and didn't allow them to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti in the temple. Maharaj has framed his photo inside the temple so that people can worship him. “Maharaj owns one more temple in Siddharth Nagar in Goregaon. He earns close to one lakh from the property.

He is misusing the funds to fulfil his needs and is not bothered about the welfare of the people” added Sadhvi. Sadhvi claims that Maharaj had demolished a part of the temple building and has received kickback from a Muslim builder. She has objections against Maharaj and feels that he doesn't have any rights to demolish the structure. Beyond the news will continue to probe about the issue.