A day after the Art of Living Foundation (AOL) led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar complained to the police about receiving extortion threats, Paul P, an NRI has accused the spiritual guru of grabbing 15 acres of land owned by him on the Kanakapura Road in Bangalore.
Paul, who spoke after AOL management filed a complaint alleging extortion threats, said he approached former don-turned journalist Agni Shridhar, who runs a tabloid, to mediate with the guru after his requests to the spiritual leader went unheeded.
"Twelve years ago, I purchased 15 acres land on the periphery of the AOL ashram from a farmer named Mohan for Rs 1.2 crore. He handed over the general power of attorney for the land to me but passed away before signing the absolute sale deed.
"Mohan's son Vijay refused to execute the sale deed. I took the matter to court but before the court could give its verdict, Mohan handed over the property to AOL. Ravi Shankar had promised me two years ago that he would settle the case but they are now asking me to forget the land, which I purchased with my hard-earned money," said Paul P.
Agni Shridhar said he was merely trying to mediate in the case. "All I asked of AOL is to return the land to Paul. Instead of putting an end to the issue, they are cooking up stories. They say I made extortion calls to them. Now that they have decided to come out in the open, let them face the consequences," he said.
Inspector Babu Norohna of the Kumara Swamy Layout police confirmed that Shridhar had filed a complaint on Wednesday night.
"He has alleged that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his staff cheated him by lodging a false complaint against him. We are looking into this," Norohna said.
Strongly refuting all allegations in the case, Art of Living spokesperson said, "The land in question has been registered in AOL's name since it was legally purchased from the owner Vijay on Feburary 5, 2007 contrary to claims made by Mr Agni Sridhar. Art of Living has no association with Mr Paul. Mr Agni Sridhar threatened to malign our organisation. We received calls where the caller demanded Rs 42 crore. We wanted Shridhar to stop defaming the organisation. After the frequency of such calls increased, Art of Living registered a formal police complaint with the Talagattapura Police Station on June 29. Art of Living strongly refutes all allegations made by Agni Sridhar.