Fact-Finding Report on Huge Irregularities, illegalities, corruption and mismanagement in Nrusinghanath Jew Matha with alleged involvement of Commissioner of Endowment, Odisha at Khambakul of Sangrampur village under Balikuda Block of Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha
Since last few months, Odisha has witnessed big expose by mass media of land scam, crime, criminality, womanisation and sexuality of fraud Babas ( so-called God man ), their indulgence, perversion and unholy alliance with political people, Minister and MLAs of Ruling Class and corrupt bureaucrats. Driven by this mega expose, the Common people have come to the streets spontaneously to exhibit their anger against fraud Babas in form of organising violent protest against Govt. alleging patronising them, attacking Matha, demanding their arrest and punishment. The State Govt. has reluctantly taken steps not only arresting these fraud God man but also seizing their properties, wealth etc. This public outrage has encouraged the innocent people to take up the issues on their own and fight against the illegalities of fraud Babas, Mahanta of Mathas across the state. Ironically in many cases, the State Govt. has come to the rescue of fraud Babas, though their forgery and land scam has been publicly exposed. The case of forgery and illegal occupation of precious Govt. land by Swami Shankaranad Giri, president of Kriya Yoga Trust in V.S.S. Nagar and Baba Aviram in Khandagiri area of Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha and silence and inaction of the State Government is the glaring example.
Role of Civil Society Groups
The Civil Society Groups of Odisha have not remained mere silent spectator to this development but put their weight behind the people’s movement and help them carry forward their fight against fraud Babas. They have exposed the land scam of fraud Babas, put the information in public domain to sensitise the people about true character of Babas and organised mass demonstration to pressurise the Govt. to take legal action against them.
Being perturbed over the news in mass media about huge illegalities and mismanagement of Nrusinghanath Jew Matha at Khambakul of Sangrampur village under Balikuda Block of Jagatsinghpur district by Sri Biswajit Padhi, self-claimed Mathadhisha (head of Matha) and Mass Dharana by the villagers against inaction and callousness of the Commissioner of Endowment Odisha, a Eight-member Team of Civil Society had visited the Matha on 28.9.15 to ascertain the fact of allegation made by the people and to take action in case of any irregularities is noticed. The Team members are as follows:
1. Pradip Pradhan, RTI Activist
2. Pratap Sahu, Convener, Basti Sangharsh Samiti
3. Pradeep Sahu, advocate
4. Sanjukta Panigrahi, Woman Activist
5. Sachikant Pradhan, Odisha Nagarik Samaj
6. Rohan Mohanty, RTI Activist
7. Radhamadhab Panda, RTI Activist
8. SwayanPrava Das, Woman Activist
The Team Members reached in Sangram Pur village at 12.30 and found hundreds of the people sitting in Dharana outside Matha demanding immediate ouster of Sri Biswajit Padhi, self-claimed fraud Mathadhisha and hundreds of people taking meal inside Matha hosted by controversial Mathadhisha Sri Padhi. However, at first, the Team held hour-long discussion with the villagers to understand about history of Matha and appointment of Mahanta of Matha, management of property of Matha, reason of controversy, role of Commission of Endowment and State Govt., role of Local MLA and district administration etc. and verified the documents available with them and the information obtained through RTI. Then, the Team also visited Matha and met Sri Biswajit Padhi, self-claimed Mathadhisha and his associates residing inside of Matha and discussed with him to know his response about the allegations levelled by the people of that locality.
The Team members met the following people during their visit on fact-finding Mission to the village.
A. Bhagat Parija
B. Natha Kandi
C. Jagabandhu Das
D. Kanduri Das
E. Rabindra Sahu
F. Debadatta Parija
G. Asit Kumar Swain
H. Ananta Ch. Bhoi
Details of the Issues
Khambakula Matha is around 800 years old Matha established by Sri Manohar Goswami and managed by Mahantas ( Head of Matha is called Mahanta) in hereditary way. Matha has huge landed property of more 800 acres of land. As big portion of the land has been encroached and occupied by the powerful people, the landed property of Matha has been reduced to less than 200 acres. Sri Trilochan Das was last Mahanta whose death, as alleged by the villagers is shrouded in mystery. Sri Trilochan Das took over the charge of the Matha and declared as Head Trustee (H.T.) of the Institution on 15.11.1996.
The controversy started centring around signing of “Chella Swekarpatra” by Sri Trilochan Das , Mahanta on 26.5.14 in favour of Biswajit Padhi when he was seriously ill and admitted in Sum Hospital for medical treatment from 21.5.14 to 28.5.14. In the Report issued by Sum Hospital, Bhubaneswar ( signed by Dr. Raghumani Mohanty, Prof. & H.o.D. , Pathology and Dr. Debahuti Mohapatra, Prof. Pathology), Mahanta Sri Das was suffering from cancer. However, Sri Das was discharged from Sum Hospital on 28.5.14. As alleged by the villagers, Mahanta was admitted in different Nursingh Homes and brought to Matha by Biswajit Padhi on 20.6.15. He was tortured by Sri Padhi and died on 22.6.14. which was declared by Sri Satyananda Padhi, Badapanda of Matha. His death is still in mystery as without any post-mortem, his body was cremated. The villagers suspected ill- motive behind quick cremation of dead body of Mahanta and alleged that Mahanta was murdered by the vested groups led by Sri Biswajit Padhi against whom “Chella Swekarpatra” has been signed and demanded crime branch enquiry into it. “Chella Swekarpatra” is a declaration of accepting a man as Chela by Mahanta as his inheritor. Sri Trilochana Das, Mahanta has declared to have accepted Biswajit Padhi as Chella from 22.05.2010 on “ Polo Chela Patra Dalil”. But this Dalil (document) is not available in the office of Endowment Commissioner, Odisha which was exposed through RTI query. The suspicion of the villagers about conspiracy behind murder of Mahanta got more sharpened when it was found that “Chella Swekarpatra” was signed on such date when Mahanta was seriously ill and under treatment at Sum Hospital. It is obvious to doubt that when Mahanta was seriously ill, how he exercised signing Chella Swekarpatra. Either Mahanta has been pressurised or his signature forged by the vested groups to capture Matha and its huge property.
On the other hand, astonishingly without verifying the authenticity of “Chella Swekarpatra”, Sri Dinabandhu Swain, Inspector of Endowment, Jagatsinghpur endorsed the same to the Commissioner of Endowment, Bhubaneswar on 1.7.14 to accept Biswajit Padhi as Chela i.e., inheritor of Matha which was seriously objected by the villagers.
When Biswajit Padhi took over the management of Matha, the villagers opposed it and continued their fight to oust Sri Padhi from the management of Matha. They wrote letter of appeal to District Collector, SP, Jagatsingh Pur, Tahasildar, local MLA, Department of Law and Panchayat Raj seeking their intervention for transparent management of Matha with the involvement of the villagers.
Finding no justice from any quarters, the villagers filed writ petition dated 18.8.2014 in Odisha High Court seeking an enquiry into it. Hearing the Writ petition case No. 15661/2014, the High Court directed to the Commissioner of Endowment to enquire the matter and take action as per the law. As per direction of High Court, the Endowment Commissioner heard the matter in his office chamber by calling both the parties and Inspector of Endowment on 28.10.14. Then he formed an interim Management Committee headed by Inspector of Endowment to look after management of Matha on 3.11.14. The decision and order of the Commissioner, Endowment was intimated to Inspector of Endowment, Jagatsingh Pur and Biswajit Padhi, controversial Chela (order No. -9286 (2) /1164-C.M.- dated 17.11.14) and to Tahasildar, Jagatsinghpur. But the order of the Commissioner of Endowment was not carried out and kept in files. In the meantime, Sri Biswajit Padhi got time to take away wealth, gold, ornaments from Matha.
However, sri Biswajit Padhi challenged the order of the Endowment Commissioner in High Court vide case No. W.P (C) No. 24022 dated 8.12.14. The Hon’ble Court in its order dt. 18.12.14 has issued direction to the Commissioner of Endowment, Odisha to take up spot denovo inquiry and directed the Inspector of Endowment, Jagatsighpur to continue as interim trustee in order to preserve salvage and protect the property of Matha along with conducting the ensuring "Nabakalabera" of the said Matha. Interestingly, though around 10 months have passed, the Endowment Commissioner has not yet conducted any enquiry to resolve the matter.
But astonishingly, the Inspector of Endowment even though took over the charge of Interim Trustee, handed over all the management power to Sri Biswajit Padhi, S/o- Satyanand Padhi, Head priest of Sri Nrusinghanath Jew, Khambakul Math. This decision of Inspector of Endowment provided opportunity to suspect the role of the administration and their unholy alliance with Sri Padhi.
It was also found that since death of Mahanta, the villagers have been alleging the anti-Matha activities and huge misappropriation of property and wealth of Matha by Biswajit Padhi. They have also substantiated their allegation by obtaining information from various offices under RTI Act. Few of their allegations exposed through RTI are as follows.
A. “Chella Swekarpatra” is a false and forged document prepared by Biswajit Padhi manipulating signature of Mahanta as his inheritor.
B. Sri Padhi has taken the valuable cultivated land measuring an area of 5.13 Acres of the Matha on lease basis for a period of twenty years from 4.11.2012 to 3.11.2032 which is illegal under section 19 of the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowment Act, 1955. The said section says “ notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force no transfer by exchange, sale or mortgage ad no lease for a term exceeding five years of ay immovable property belonging to , or given or endowed for the purpose of , ay religious institution, shall be made unless it is sanctioned by the Commissioner as being necessary or beneficial to the institution and no such transfer shall be valid or operative unless it is so sanctioned.”
C. Sri Padhi is involved in the profitable business activities by acquiring one tractor having engine No. S3251E39706 & Chassis No. SSEW101201213 o 14.3.2013 through subsidiary system by utilising landed property of the Matha on his parental address.
D. Huge wealth like gold , ornaments worth crores of rupees in Gravagruha has been excavated and taken away by Sri Padhi and his associates. Being empowered by the Interim Trustee, Sri padhi and his associates have started disposing off the properties of the Matha suh as rice, paddy, 1 lakh bricks, valuable trees, agricultural equipments and other valuable materials unauthorisedly and many more.
Armed with these documentary proofs, the villagers have submitted a memorandum dated 22.6.15 to Endowment Commissioner demanding immediate ouster of Sri Padhi from Campus and form a Management Committee taking participation of local administration and other intellectuals in the greater interest of Sri Nursinghnath Jew thereby obstructing anti-social activities in the premises of Matha, selection of Mahanta for Matha by calling meeting of the villagers and implement order of the High Court.
Finding no solution, on 28.9.15, they have started Hunger strike in front of Matha to mount pressure on Govt. for permanent solution and restoration of sanctity, sanctum and sanctorum of Matha.
Response of Sri Biswajit Padhi, Controversial Chela
The Team met Sri Padhi and sought his response about the allegations made by the villagers. He declined to respond anything saying that the matter is sub-judice. He showed a copy of the order of the High Court dated 18.12.14 in which the direction has been passed to the Commissioner of Endowment to enquire into the matter. However he said that the allegations made by the villagers are false as he has been authorised by the administration to look into the management of Matha.
Remarks of the Team
The whole controversy emerged and still continued due to callousness of the administration to resolve the matter timely with involvement of the villagers and their close proximity with Sri Biswajit Padhi @ Das, controversial Chela. The issues created by the administration are as follows.
1. Without verifying the authenticity of the “ Chella Swekarpatra”, the Inspector of Endowment, Jagatsinghpur arbitrarily endorsed it to the Commissioner of Endowment and recognised as chela i.e., inheritor of deceased Mahanta Sri Trilochan Das.
2. After public protest and subsequent order of Odisha High Court dated 24.9.14 , the Endowment Commissioner formed an interim management Committee headed by Inspector, Endowment, Jagatsingh Pur for management of Matha. But astonishingly, the Inspector, Endowment handed over the charge to Sri Biswajit Padhi to manage Matha which was outrightly objected by the villagers. This decision led to huge public discontentment in the locality.
3. Again, hearing another Writ petition filed by Sri Biswajit Padhi, the Odisha High Court gave direction on 18.12.14 to the Commissioner, Endowment, Odisha to enquire into the matter and take appropriate legal action. Though around 10 months have passed, the Endowment Commissioner has sat idle without taking any action to execute the order of the Court.
4. The ominous silence of Sri Prasant Kumar Muduli, local MLA of Biju Janata Dal has also aggravated the situation. As the representative of the people, he has the moral duty to resolve the issue in the greater interest of Matha. Though the villagers have informed the Local MLA about it, he has not taken any step to resolve the issue. it was also alleged that the local MLA is also involved in this controversy and supporting controversial Chela. However, the Team could not be able to contact Local MLA to get his opinion.
Recommendation of the Team
A. Nrusinghanath Jew Matha is an age old public Institution. It is the responsibility of the State as well as the people to preserve its sanctity, sanctum in the greater interest of the villagers. When the edifice of the Matha is breaking down, the villagers have come to the streets to protect it. But the administration i.e., Commissioner of Endowment appointed to oversee the management of all Hindu Religious Institutions has exhibited lackadaisical attitude and precariously failed to take steps to carry out the order of the High Court and resolve the issue of mismanagement of Matha. Due to inaction of the Endowment Commissioner, the villagers have come to the streets spending their precious time and money to protect an institution. Keeping in view this situation, the Team also feels which can not be ruled out that the heavy powerful political group (may be Minister and Local MLA ) are behind the scene to capture the property of Matha by hook and by crook. Sri Biswajit Padhi is just like a puppet in their hand to amass wealth of Matha.
B. So, the Team strongly recommends that the Commissioner of Endowment should immediately enquire into the matter as per order of Odisha High Court and form a management Committee taking participation of the villagers for transparent management of Matha.
C. The Commissioner of Endowment should institute an enquiry team to assess the property of Matha and resume the land illegally acquired by the powerful people.
A. The Civil Society Groups organised Mass Dharana with participation of the hundreds of the people in front of the office of Commissioner of Endowment, Odisha on 30.9.15 demanding immediate enquiry into irregularities in Khambakula Matha as per the direction of Odisha High Court and submitted memorandum to Justice G.C.Panigrahi, Commissioner in this regard.