Fraud: Criminal deception; the using of false representations to obtain an unjust advantage or to injure the rights or interests of another. An act or instance of deception, an artifice by which the right or interest of another is injured, a dishonest trick or stratagem. Oxford English Dictionary
One might be hesitant to think that someone as well respected in society as Madhu Pandit Dasa could be involved in massive criminal fraud. But the recent revelations of the INR 2,50,000 crore fraud of Bernard Madoff, long time Wall street banker and former chairman of the NASDAQ Stock Market, and even more recent (Jan 2009) case of INR 7000 crore fraud at SATYAM (which ironically means “truth” in Sanskrit) by Ramlinga Raju teach us that "all that glitters is not gold."
Madhu Pandit Dasa’s fraud is complex. So first we will explain it by introducing an analogy using Tata Consultancy Services - TCS - registered in Mumbai. Then we will adumbrate the salient points of the actual fraud of Madhu Pandit Dasa and finally for those who want the gory details, access to court documents, etc., we provide it on a separate page.
Suppose a crooked Bangalore branch manager of the Tata Consultancy Services TCS (reg. Mumbai) had a scheme to usurp the assets and operation of TCS in Bangalore. To achieve his purpose he secretly registers a separate corporation with exactly the same name "Tata Consultancy Services" (TCS) in Bangalore. But before he could fully exploit the new counterfeit corporation he was removed for engaging in other criminal and immoral activities. A new branch manager is appointed to the Bangalore branch of TCS and all goes well.
After many years the then current Bangalore branch manger of TCS (reg. Mumbai) has a disagreement with the TCS head office in Mumbai. Fearing the loss of his position he schemes to keep it at any cost. He finds out about the counterfeit TCS registered in Bangalore by his predecessor and after “cooking the books” he claims he is not under the jurisdiction of TCS (reg. Mumbai) as a branch manager in Bangalore but rather he is actually the head of TCS (reg. Bangalore) and by various legal maneuvers attempts to keep possession of the property, funds and other assets of the Bangalore branch of TCS (reg. Mumbai).
To the general public everything looks the same and the Bangalore manager goes out of his way to make the public think that the counterfeit TCS (reg. Bangalore) is the same as TCS (reg. Mumbai) in order to take advantage of the good name and reputation of TCS (reg. Mumbai). Naturally TCS (reg. Mumbai) must fight against this imposter who has shown himself to also be a crook and is using the good name of TCS (reg. Mumbai) for his own purposes and with no accountability and in doing so damaging the reputation of TCS (reg. Mumbai).
This analogy of TCS (reg. Mumbai) and the fraudulent TCS (reg. Bangalore) gives a good introductory understanding of the situation between Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON registered in Mumbai in 1971 by Srila Prabhupada's desire (as admitted even by Madhu Pandit Dasa) and Madhu Pandit Dasa’s counterfeit ISKCON registered in Bangalore by Shankha Brita Dasa in 1978. Now let’s go to the salient points. But if you get confused just return to this analogy to see the big picture of the situation.
Srila Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krsna Consciousness for the purpose of spreading the teachings of Lord Krsna. To carry on his mission in India Srila Prabhupada had the “International Society for Krsna Consciousness” registered in 1971 under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 as well as under the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950. This society’s registration number is F-2179. This society is widely known by its acronym ISKCON. We shall refer to the society that Srila Prabhupada registered in India as ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971). Srila Prabhupada was the chairman of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) from inception till his departure on November 14, 1977.
All other centers started in India before Srila Prabhupada left this world on November 14, 1977, were branch offices of ISKCON with registered head office in Mumbai. These temples were in the following locations: Vrindavan (U.P.), Mayapur (W.B.), Kolkata (W.B.), Bhubaneswar (Orissa), New Delhi, Hyderabad (A.P.), and Chennai (T.N.).
After Srila Prabhupada’s departure from this mortal world in 1977 his leading disciples continued in his footsteps and opened temples all over India as branch offices of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971). There are now about 80 ISKCON centers in India and more are opening every year. All of them are branch offices of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971). For the management of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) all these branch offices send their audited accounts to the head office of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) at Juhu, Mumbai. At the head office all the audited branch accounts are merged and prepared for final assessment [see link for details of auditing and assessment procedure of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971)]. These accounting practices instituted by Srila Prabhupada again indicate that these temples are not independent and autonomous entities but rather branches of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971).
Swindler: One who practises fraud, imposition, or mean artifice for purposes of gain; one who systematically defrauds or cheats others; a cheat. Oxford English Dictionary
Up to 1977 all was going well but then a shadow entered the picture in the person of Shankha Brita Dasa. It is not known whether he was always corrupt and joined ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) with intention of stealing money and eploiting it for himself. Or, whether he was at first idealistic and then became corrupted by Maya, in any case this is what happened.
In the mid 1970s devotees from the Hyderabad branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) including Bhanu Svami had been going to Bangalore for preaching activities. [Bhanu Svami explains how Shankha Brita Dasa joined ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971).] Later after 1977 Shankha Brita Dasa was put in charge of the fledgling ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) preaching center in Bangalore. It was a small office, not the big temple complex that was later built. This preaching center like all others was a branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971).
In 1978 Shankha Brita Dasa hatched the idea to register another society with exactly the same name hence forth called ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978). He registered this society by having unwitting devotees and Life Members of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) sign a paper telling them that it had to do with ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) business without telling them the real purpose. He populated the membership of the counterfeit ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) with wealthy Life Members of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) without their knowledge. What his intention for creating this counterfeit ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) is not known but considering his activities from 1978 till the present he did not have the best interests of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) at heart.
Shortly after creating this counterfeit ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) Shankha Brita Dasa became involved in all kinds of scandalous acts such as borrowing a car from a life patron member of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) and then selling it without the man’s knowledge and using the money for wine and women, stealing donations meant for ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) and using it for debauchery. He also spoiled the chastity of young women whose parents were patrons of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971). The list of his sins is too long to outline, only Chitra Gupta knows the extent of them all. His egregious behavior blackened the name of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) and he had to flee from Bangalore in 1980. When it became clear that he was incorrigible he was eventually excommunicated from ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971).
Because Shankha Brita Dasa was driven out of Bangalore because of his sinful deeds he was not able to fully exploit the counterfeit ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) that he had created; so it died.
In 1980 a Canadian devotee, Gauranga Dasa, came from Kolkata and took over the affairs of the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) and ran a small preaching center on West of Chord Road, near the Navrang Talkies in Rajajinagar, Bangalore. Later, in 1981 Gauranga Dasa went to Kerala to start a branch office of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) in Trivandram. Mahasrnga Dasa an American devotee came from Kolkata and replaced him as president of the ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) branch office in Bangalore. And in 1983 Satvik Dasa, an Italian devotee, replaced Mahasrnga Dasa as the president of the Bangalore branch office of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971).
Impostor: One who imposes on others; a deceiver, swindler, cheat; now chiefly, one who assumes a false character, or passes himself off as some one other than he really is. Oxford English Dictionary
Madhu Pandit Dasa began associating with ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) at its head office in Juhu, Mumbai. He joined the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) in mid-1981 and did different services. In late 1982 he was made the president of the Trivandram branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971). And in 1984 after the departure of Sattvik Dasa, Madhu Pandit Dasa was appointed the president of the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) by the head office in Mumbai. By the grace of Lord Krsna the hard work of the 60 full time devotees paid off and the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) became very successful.
Sometime in 1998 Madhu Pandit Dasa got into a serious disagreement with the head office of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) to the point that it appeared that he would be removed from his position as president of the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971). This is the point where Madhu Pandit Dasa faced his test and failed.
Spiritual life is like the razor’s edge, one mis-step and there is rebirth. As Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said: “as soon as one takes to spiritual life his path is strewn with thorns.” Those “thorns” are the “tests” applied to the yogi to see if he is qualified to go further until he reaches his final destination. In Madhu Pandit Dasa’s case he forgot that he was a “Dasa” - servant - and instead thought he was the master. He thought that the big temple complex belonged to him because he thought it was he who did all the work , and it was by his intelligence that it was all accomplished. If it wasn’t for him, he thought, there would be no temple. Therefore Madhu Pandit Dasa thought he had every legal, moral and spiritual right to remain president for life and no one had the right to discipline or remove him.
Thus he fell right into maya’s trap by thinking that he is the doer. The following verses from Bhagavad-gita and purports by Srila Prabhupada illuminate the darkness of his situation:
karmany evadhikaras te
ma phalesu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
ma te sango 'stv akarmani
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty. Bg 2.47
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature. Bg 3.27
Click to see Purport
From Srimad Bhagavatam:
Srila Sridhara Swami points out that the symptom of the material mind is the tendency to consider oneself to be the ultimate doer and enjoyer. Naturally, one with such a puffed-up mentality is helplessly attracted by the sense objects. One who considers himself to be the doer and enjoyer will be irresistibly attracted to the means for attaining sense gratification and false prestige, namely, exploitation of material objects. SB.11.13.25 purport
The proper attitude is explained by Lord Krsna in this verse of Bhagavad-gita:
mayi sarvani karmani
nirasir nirmamo bhutva
Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight. Bg 3.30
Click to see Purport
Thus being in the grip of material consciousness Madhu Pandit Dasa believed that the assets of the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) should be under his control for life. With the goal of maintaining control and proprietorship of the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) Madhu Pandit Dasa as president of Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) filed three successive suits against the head office of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) between the years 1999-2001. He filed the last of these three suits on February 6, 2001.
He realized that his objective of maintaining control and proprietorship of the property and assets of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) as the branch president of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) in Bangalore via the courts could not be achieved when the following happened.
Adridharana Dasa, the then president of the Kolkata branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971), had filed a similar suit as Madhu Pandit Dasa had done and lost his case in the Kolkata high court on June 18, 2001 and was later removed from his position. Madhu Pandit Dasa realized the obvious, that he would face the same fate unless he changed his tactics. (It may be prudent before going forward to reread the analogy just to keep track of things.)
Counterfeit: To make an imitation of, imitate (with intent to deceive). To make (anything) in fraudulent imitation of something else; to make or devise (something spurious) and pass it off as genuine; to forge. Oxford English Dictionary
Madhu Pandit Dasa knew that as a “Branch President” of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) Bangalore he could not legally maintain his position of control of the property and assets of the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) because of what had happened to Adridharana Dasa in Kolkata. So he hatched a conspiracy to usurp the properties in the name of the dead counterfeit ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) created by the notorious Shankha Brita Dasa (which he had somehow come to know about) and thus attemp to maintain his position of proprietorship.
By this tactical maneuver he tried to falsely show that the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) was never a part of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) and thus never belonged to ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) in the first place, that he was the president of the counterfeit ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978), and that he was thus beyond the jurisdiction of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) and could not be removed from his position.
Because legal pressure was building on him after the result of the Kolkata case against Adridharana Dasa, Madhu Pandit Dasa feigned interest in a peaceful settlement with ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) in order to buy time. Meanwhile he feverishly worked to implement his conspiracy for stealing the Bangalore Branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971). In order to accomplish this criminal act he had to do three things:
He accomplished all three purposes by submitting forged documents falsely showing that ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) had been functioning since 1989 and he replaced the original members with new members with himself as president of ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978). Of the seven members that he put in charge of ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) four were members of his immediate family.
However, Madhu Pandit Dasa’s criminal fraud and forgery becomes obvious when it is noted that the documents covering years 1989-2001 (the years before he filed the case) which would have been submitted annually by a legally functioning society had it existed were instead submitted to the registrar all on the same date of August 9, 2001 less than two months after the decision of the Kolkata court against Adridharana Dasa became known to Madhu Pandita Dasa. [Here is a link to the forged documents in PDF format is a 6.5 MB file, we suggest that you "right click" and save to your computer.]
Madhu Pandit Dasa then approached his former lawyers who had represented his case in the previous suit and told them he wanted to change his stand, that he was no longer the Bangalore branch president of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) as he had sworn in three separate affidavits in his previous suits, but instead was the president of an autonomous and independent society of the same name ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978).
His lawyers could see that this was fraud so they refused to represent him. Crooked lawyers are not hard to find in India so he approached the notorious Shweta Ananda to represent him. And with her help he sprang another law suit on October 15, 2001 against ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971).
This new suit #7934, falsley claimed that the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) was never a part of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) and therefore not their property but rather it had always been the the property of the bogus ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) and that he, Madhu Pandit Dasa was the president of this ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978).
This suit came less than 10 weeks after submitting the forged documents to the registrar of societies in Karnataka and less than four months after Adridharana Dasa lost his case in Kolkata and less than eight months from his last suit in which made a sworn affidavit that he was the president of the Bangalore branch of ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971).
To make it a little clearer we will make a time line of major events:
Hoodwink: fig. To blindfold mentally; to prevent (any one) from seeing the truth or fact; to ‘throw dust in the eyes’ of, deceive, humbug. Oxford English Dictionary
In the meanwhile the persons who had been hoodwinked by Shankha Brita Dasa into signing the original documents of incorporation of ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) or were made members without their knowledge were informed of what Madhu Pandit Dasa had done. They were shocked by his audacity and filed a suit #1758 against Madhu Pandit Dasa stating that:
These two lawsuits, the one placed by Madhu Pandit Dasa claiming to represent ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) against the real ISKCON (reg. Mumbai 1971) over the ownership of property on Hare Krsna Hill, and the case of the original members of ISKCON (reg. Bangalore 1978) against Madhu Pandit Dasa for theft by fraud and imposture are nearing the final stages.
Before these cases were actually heard Madhu Pandit Dasa was surviving by delaying the proceedings as long as possible. However, now that the cases have been heard the factual evidence is so stacked against Madhu Pandit Dasa that it is highly likely that he will lose the case.
For those of you (journalists, lawyers, police, and MLAs, etc.) who want to have details and access to court documents, etc. then click here for details of the law suits.