June 10: A day after Iskcon filed a defamation suit against KPCC working president D.K. Shivakumar, president of the institution Madhu Pandit Dasa alleged that the former minister was venting his personal anger at Iskcon. He said Mr Shivakumar joined hands with Mumbai Iskcon, which has a running dispute with Bengaluru Iskcon adding the former minister was unhappy after Iskcon bought land on Kanakapura Road during a government auction.
“Mr Shivakumar had said Iskcon was doing real estate business. Iskcon Charities and India Heritage Foundation are two separate entities. India Heritage Foundation was engaged in a housing project to raise funds to set up the Krishna Lila Theme Park on Kanakapura Road. It has been cleared by the state high-level committee as a tourism project. The trust has filed returns before the I-T department and obtained the registration for exemption on the charitable trust’s income,’’ he said.
The trust had won the bid for the land at Kanakapura which did not go down well with Mr Shivakumar, he claimed. The Mumbai Iskcon is also involved in this, he added. “It is a shame for us, but Mumbai Iskcon officials were waiting to depose before the inquiry committee. We are not happy with Mr Shivakumar being on the committee and we have made a representation to the Speaker as well as the panel chief regarding this matter,” Dasa said. He also said the National Committee for Promotion of Social and Economic Welfare under Ministry of Finance has authenticated the Akshaya Patra scheme. “In 2003, we applied to the National Committee for Promotion of Social and Economic Welfare. This committee is headed by the former Chief Justice of India and on examining our programme, Akshaya Patra was recommended as an eligible project by this committee to raise donations up to Rs 22 crore and the scheme was reviewed in 2006 and the limit for donations was extended Rs 100 crore,” he said.
“In 2009, the Akshaya Patra programme was reviewed for the third time and being satisfied with the implementation of the programme, the committee further extended the limit of donations to Rs 200 crore and the tax exemption benefit to the donors for another three years,” he said.
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I’ve evidence of land encroached: DKS
Urging the state government to “arrest” Iskcon’s governing body commissioners Madhu Pandit Dasa and Chanchalapathi Dasa, Congress MLA D.K. Shivakumar said they have not just broken the law by collecting donations under the Akshaya Patra scheme, but also encroached upon 61 acres of government land in Mandya district. Mr Shivakumar at a press conference on Thursday countered Iskcon’s media brief earlier in the day and the defamation case filed against him. He said that he, as part of the House Committee constituted by the government to investigate into the Akshaya Patra scheme run by Iskcon, had enough evidence to prove that the spiritual organisation had violated norms.
“There is absolutely no provision for Iskcon or any other NGO associated with the mid-day meal programme to collect donations as the programme is completely funded by the state and Central governments. Nowhere on its website has Iskcon mentioned that it is a state programme and outsourced to it for execution,” he added. Mr Shivakumar produced documents of land encroachment of 61.21 acres by Iskcon in Mahadevapura in Mandya. He also alleged that he and his friends were being threatened by Iskcon.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), Bangalore, President Madhu Pandit Dasa on Thursday alleged that failure to bag a piece of land in a government auction has driven the Congress Party working president D K Shivakumar to make baseless allegations against Iskcon.
Addressing reporters here on Thursday, Madhu Pandit Dasa said the Iskcon managed to bag 28 acres of land at Vasantha Vallabharaya Nagar on Kanakapura Road a few years ago. The Iskcon bagged the land legally and paid money for it. A few of
D K Shivakumar’s supporters had also participated in the auctioning. However, they failed to bag the land. A disappointed Shivakumar started making false, fabricated, baseless allegations tarnishing the image of the Iskcon ever since the auctioning took place, he added.
“The suit is filed against defamation caused by his acts and utterances outside the assembly of the house and not for any of his utterances on the floor of the assembly as we have high regards for the principles of privilege he enjoys as legislator as well as the member of the House Committee,” Madhu Pandit Dasa clarified.
Iskcon has nothing against the Congress Party. It was forced to file a defamation case against him due to his vengeful and repeated attacks against the Iskcon as lakhs of devotees of the Iskcon were hurt by his allegations. He said there are only 300 full time and voluntary devotees all over the country involved in managing serving of the food under Akshaya Patra scheme. They work round the clock. They are not paid except food and accommodation facilities. Even Rahul Gandhi and the US President Barack Obama have hailed the service rendered under the Akshaya Patra scheme, he added.
Shivakumar rubbishes charges
KPCC Working President D K Shivakumar on Thursday rubbished the charges against him made by Iskcon even as he sought the arrest of Iskcon President Madhu Pandit Das and Vice-President Chanchalapathi Das for their alleged involvement in grabbing of government land.
At a press conference Shivakumar charged that the Das duo were indulging in real estate business and also unlawfully collecting donations for the mid-day meal “Akshaya Patra” scheme. He also demanded that all property belonging to the two be confiscated with immediate effect. Shivakumar claimed he had documents furnished by the revenue department which revealed that the 61.28 acre of government land in Mahadevapura had been encroached by Madhu and Chanchalapathi Das.
He said Iskcon’s Akshaya Patra Foundation had no authority to collect funds from the public. He said it was the Speaker who had appointed him as a member on the joint House Committee to go into the affairs of the Akshaya Patra Foundation. He said he had no interest in any prime land located on Kanakapura Road as alleged by Iskcon.
Iskcon Bangalore has filed a defamation suit against state Congress working president D K Shivakumar for calling the temple authorities rice thieves.
Accusing him of making baseless allegations, Iskcon has sought a compensation of Rs 1.08 crore. Kumar had alleged in October last year that the temple was into black marketing of rice on the pretext of implementing the Akshaya Patra mid-day meal scheme.
Bangalore, June 10 : The Governing council of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) has filed a defamation case against the Congress Party working president D K Shivakumar, his follower Hanumantharayappa and two journalists Gowri Lankesh and Somnath, before the City Civil Court claiming Rs 1.8 crore compensation for tarnishing the image of Iskcon, Bangalore by making false allegations.
DKS had staged a protest in front of Akshayapatra Foundation Rice Godown on October 16, 2009 with hundreds of his party workers and had alleged that Iskcon had hoarded 4,000 quintal of rice released by the government and had sold in black market for Rs 1,500 per quintal. He had urged the government to arrest the Iskcon President Madhu Pandit Dasa and Vice-President Chanchalapathi Dasa. He had termed the Iskcon as Akki Kallaru (rice thieves) and had referred to the Akshayapatra scheme as Bhikshapatra.
The Food and Civil Supplies Department had sealed the Iskcon godown based on D K Shivakumars complaint. The Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Urban, held an inquiry and found the allegations as baseless. He gave a clean chit to the Iskcon in February 2010.
The Iskcon did not think of taking any legal action against DKS as we have high regards for the principles of privilege he enjoys as legislator as well as the member of the House Committee. However, he claimed the House Committee found his allegations to be true while talking to a television channel on June 7, even when we have not even deposed before the House Committee. Hence, we decided to pursue legal action against him, Chanchalapathi Dasa said.
The Iskcon has also decided to file a criminal complaint against him for trespassing and damaging trust property. He had trespassed into the warehouse compound, broke open rice bags, broke window panes and taken the rice outside the warehouse on October 16, 2009.