Call for probe into Maha Sabha finances

Friday, January 3, 2020 - 12:30

One pundit is calling for a probe into the financial operations of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, following news of the current probe into the Third Exodus Assembly Church in Longdenville.

According to Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, Spiritual Leader at the Satya Ananad Ashram in Aranguez, the State needs to embark on a serious examination of all religious institutions, in light of this situation.

In a press release, Pundit Maharaj also takes the Inter-Religious Organisation and other religious bodies to task for remaining silent on the issue.

The religious leader says the State needs to launch an immediate audit into the Maha Sabha as well, especially since it receives State-funding—namely taxpayers' dollars—for schools and festivals, among other sources of income.

Following is the full text of Pundit Maharaj’s statement…

Investigate the Maha Sabha finances now!

“The recent shocking announcement by the media of a Longdenville church Pastor attempting to deposit $29 Million to obtain the new polymer notes demands closer examination of religious institutions by the State. The clarification proffered by the Pastor as to how the immense treasure is unbelievable and incredulous. Hopefully, the relevant authorities will unearth the truth as to the real source of funds.

The silence of the Inter-Religious Organization and other religious bodies on this issue is not only reprehensible but an indictment on their self-entitlement to religious and moral authority.

Unfortunately the story of the Longdenville Pastor with inexplicable wealth is not uncommon for particular members of the clergy that transcends denominations. As such, it is time that religious organizations that use their position of power and influence be subject to audit and accountability by the State.

This accountability can be to Financial Intelligence Unit, the Auditor General, or the Board of Inland Revenue. There is no mechanism currently to ensure that the religious sensibilities of the society is not and will not be exploited by some questionable persons posing as men of cloth. This audit needs not only is required but also made public.

One such religious organization that deserves an immediate audit is the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, which receives State funding for Schools and Festivals, donations from individuals, as well as various fund raising efforts.   Many often complain that the millions of dollars of  State funding of Divali, Indian Arrival Day or Phagwa is never seen by the temples and the schools.

The money paid for janitorial staff often comes with a forced donation in exchange for the job.

For decades the Maha Sabha has been ruled by the Maharaj Dynasty starting with the founder Bhadase Sagan and handed to Sat and now handed to his son the unelected Secretary General Vijay.  The Maharaj clan are not only placed in positions of the SDMS but also holds influence at Radio/TV Jaagriti, the Maha Sabha Secretariat, School Cafeterias, all of which are salaried.  It is not therefore strange that the Multimillion Dollar Estate of Bhadase administered by Sat has never been resolved after four decades following the death of Bhadase.

Sat the religious leader of the SDMS after forty years had to be ordered by the courts to compensate the family of Bhadase the money owed to them by law.

Is it strange that there are questions on the finances of the SDMS administered by the same Sat Maharaj?

Under the banyan tree of Sat Maharaj nothing in the SDMS could have grown to challenge the Maharaj clan. SDMS elections were heavily gerrymandered with threats of withholding school promotions or janitorial jobs, or teaching appointments.  There has never been an SDMS election that was free and fair or free from fear. This resulted in a complainant and malleable SDMS Executive that never questioned the accounts of the Maha Sabha.

I call upon the Ministry of Education and Auditor General to immediately investigate the SDMS regarding the taxpayers' funds the SDMS receives annually.”


Story by NEWS DESK