Sunday, March 20, 2011

Organized Religion and Organized Crime

Organized Religion is like Organized Crime; it preys on peoples’ weakness, generates huge profits for its operators, and is almost impossible to eradicate — Mike Hermann
Earlier this month, CNN-IBN came out with spectacular exposes on money laundering by Hindu godmen. The culprits included Ram Vilas Vedanti (or more respectfully, Vedanti Maharaj), Guruvayur Surya Nambudiri and Kapil Advait (alias Pilot Baba)
  • Vedanti is a former chairman of the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust, a former BJP MP, and a star campaigner for the BJP in the recent elections in Uttar Pradesh (where it suffered a humiliating defeat).
  • Surya Nambudiri (also spelled Namboodiri) is apparently famous for making prophecies — what’s a godman without the power to prophecy — and after a tough bargain, agrees to turn 100 million of black money into white money for a 15% commission. Not surprisingly, he couldn’t foretell his own future.
  • Kapil Advait is a former wing commander-turned-godman, engaged in money laundering for commissions ranging from 20% to 50%.
As expected, the Sangh Parivar jumped to the godmen’s defense. The BJP spokesperson said:
The names that your channel has discussed are all respectable people. I am not sure how authentic this sting operation is.
And the VHP Vice-President Giriraj Kishore said:
What is the purpose behind a sting operation? And why are Hindus always maligned?
Confused? Here’s the train of thought: VHP (and the Sangh Parivar) represents all Hindus, the exposed godmen are sympathetic to the Sangh Parivar, so an expose of their fraudulent activities is equivalent to maligning all Hindus. Besides, as Swami Nirliptananda, Secretary of the London Sevashram Sangha and a member of the Hindu Forum of Britain’s Spiritual Body Commission, recently observed:
Even among human beings, saintly people occupy a different status from others.
According to former income tax commissioner Vishwabandhu Gupta:
[This is] a fit case for criminal proceedings. Two of the biggest religion mafias are the Ram Janmanbhoomi Nyas and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad amongst the Hindus. They have 10 bogus trusts floated from the same address. The names are there (in our record) and so are the addresses. They are getting money from 50 countries abroad and are also getting tax exemptions. There are no accounts as well. You see, this is a big menace. We have calculated and found that religious leaders annually earn $3 billion which is about Rs 10,000 crore -Rs 15,000 crore worth of money. What they do is they get land at throwaway prices. During the last government, 11 including that Sadhvi Ritambhara – whatever her qualifications are – got a fantastic (sic) piece of land at a throwaway price for the services that she heads today. There have fraudulent names, addresses, existences and expenditures. They use it for spreading communal hatred. Money has been used by Bajrang Dal cadres in Gujarat to purchase Motorola, we have got receipts for that.
For instance, the RSS does not have FCRA clearance and cannot directly accept foreign donations, so has created service wings like the Sewa International and Sewa Bharati which have FCRA clearance. The RSS’s fundraising fronts abroad — IDRF, SewaUSA, VHP of America, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa International UK, Hindu Forum of Britain etc. — divert funds to the RSS through Sewa Bharati and Sewa International. Given the Sangh Parivar’s access to state power and propensity to violence, its brand of fundamentalism poses the biggest danger to a pluralistic India, but the role of Christian fundamentalist groups like World Vision (which apparently disbursed 95 crores in India last year) cannot be glossed over either.

Searching for a South African connection

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Dewani defence rolls out artillery...


ABOVE: Shrien Dewani is being investigated over links to a second killing
12th December 2010

By Jonathan Corke

HONEYMOON murder suspect Shrien Dewani is being investigated over links to a second killing.

Police in South Africa probing wife Anni’s death are looking at a possible connection between Dewani and the murder of a doctor in the country.

It follows claims from the taxi driver in Anni’s case that Dewani had confessed to arranging another murder in a fake hijacking in South Africa.

Dr Pox Raghavjee, 60, was shot dead in the Eastern Cape in November 2007 on his way to work.

Reports in South Africa claimed the doctor’s widow Heather drove to Cape Town to comfort Dewani after Anni was killed last month.

National Commissioner General Bheki Cele said yesterday that a link was being investigated.

Dewani’s spokesman Max Clifford, 67, said the link was “ridiculous”.

He added: “Heather Raghavjee flew from King William’s Town in South Africa to Cape Town to try to comfort the family at the request of her daughter-in-law Alvita, who lives in the Bristol area and knew the Dewani family.

“She had never met Shrien before in her life. But she experienced what he experienced when her husband, Dr Pox Raghavjee, was shot dead in a car-jacking three years earlier.”
Meanwhile, we can reveal that funds being raised in Anni’s name by Dewani’s family are going to a group linked with extremist violence.

Following a plea by his relatives, well-wishers have donated more than £9,000 in memory of Anni through a JustGiving fund-raising page.

On the face of it, the cash is going to a Hindu welfare centre called the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA) in Maharashta, west India.

But we can reveal the organisation behind the centre has been mired in claims of paramilitary violence against other religions in India.

One report into extremism in the country said: “Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram…has been responsible for considerable violence and hatred against Christian and Muslim groups, including during the Gujarat carnage in 2002.”

A website for the centre has links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) group, which has been accused of organising anti-Christian riots and branded a terror outfit. Last night no one from VKA or RSS was available to comment.

Care homes boss Dewani, 30, who is suspected by police of conspiring to have wife Anni, 28, murdered during a fake hijacking of their taxi, was once general secretary of the National Hindu Students Forum UK.
In 2004 he denied claims the organisation was radical.

He said: “We are not extreme and refute any allegations – direct or indirect – that infer that we are.”

Yesterday the police said they were continuing the process of trying to get Dewani extradited to South Africa.

On Friday he was granted bail, having spent two nights in a London jail. But he must wear a tag and live at his parents’ house after paying a £250,000 surety.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Anni Dewani: Please sign the petition.

Anni Dewani - What Really ...‎ PETITION HAS REACHED OVER 2750 SIGNATURES Keep spreading the word please - twitter, facebook, email, text all your contacts, and get your contacts to pass ... - More »
Facebook - 1 hour ago

Monday, January 3, 2011

DEWANI: Dec 19th video PR Guru fighting in Shriens corner

DEWANI and the tweet trickster..

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani was targetted by an internet prankster yesterday – who posted sick jokes about his tragic wife Anni’s death on TWITTER.
Prankster sets up fake Twitter page for honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani
The trickster created a fake profile on the 140-character microblogging site with the user name ‘ShrienDewani’, which is illustrated with a photograph of the businessman.
In a series of sarcastic tweets, the bogus ‘ShrienDewani’ covers topics such as his sexuality, paying for two return tickets when only needing one and Anni’s insurance payout.
His profile description reads: ”I didn’t ever kill urm…whatsername? My wife…damnit. Nor did I pay anyone to do it. Also I like women. Just women. Love me some vagina. Oh yeah!”
Prankster sets up fake Twitter page for honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani
The first tweet posted on December 10 reads: ”I wasn’t caught paying the taxi driver for murder on CCTV. I was only giving him R10 000 cause I was used to taxi prices in London.”
A reference is then made to claims Shrien is homosexual with: ”I wish when The Sun asked me why I took my wife to Cape Town if it wasn’t to have her killed, I hadn’t said, ”For the Gay Nightlife””.
The prankster then uses the account to joke about deceased wife Anni, tweeting: ”I hope the insurance on my wife pays out soon. Last night I had to stay in and eat a can of beans. It’s no way for a billionaire to act.”
Prankster sets up fake Twitter page for honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani
It then goes on to add: ”My lawyer has advised that I go spend today in South East London, so if someone asks I can prove I like to hang out in dangerous places.”
And in connection with alleged links with the 2007 murder of Dr Pox Raghavjee the pseudo ‘ShrienDewani’ tweets: ”Now police are after me for a murder in the Eastern Cape. Let it go! What’s next? Arresting me for those sweets I stole when I was 10?”
The latest tweet, posted today reads: ”The worst thing about this whole ordeal is that I can’t catch a taxi anymore without the driver offering to kill someone for me. Hilarious.”
At time of publication, ‘ShrienDewani’ had more than 200 followers and had made 15 tweets from December 10 to today.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

DEWANI: the travel consultant...


Strolling alongside the husband accused of plotting her death, Anni Dewani is pictured in CCTV images just an hour before she was murdered.

The 28-year-old was filmed leaving a beachside restaurant with Shrien, 30, during their honeymoon.

In another shot, the couple are spotted walking with the man who later killed her, cabbie Zola Tongo.

Shrien keeps his hand in his pockets and makes no physical contact with his new wife, who walks silently behind him with her head bowed.

Around 30 minutes later, Anni was being taken on a terrifying car ride that would end with her death.

These pictures, taken at 10.24pm at a Cape Town sushi bar, emerged along with details of a second murder being linked to millionaire Dewani.

Police have also seized three sets of CCTV footage allegedly showing two separate ­meetings at the £300-a-night Cape Grace hotel between Tongo and Dewani and records of text messages between the two men, which were exchanged before the murder.

Shots taken after Anni died show the care home boss spent 10 minutes alone with Tongo.

 Cameras allegedly captured him at the back of the hotel as the cabbie’s car arrives at the front.

Both men talk on their mobiles and Tongo walks in. As he goes in Dewani allegedly heads for the lobby with a plastic bag. Tongo follows.

Within minutes the husband emerges followed by Tongo who appears to have something under his shirt.

The taxi driver then enters the toilets in the lobby, where police suspect he may have counted the payment he claims to have received.

There are also clips of him leaving with Tongo on the day of the murder. The pair re-appear 45 minutes later.

They are filmed driving off towards the bustling city centre.

Tongo claims this was when he took Dewani to a black market foreign exchange dealer to change money.

He has told police it was on the way back the newlywed told him how he wanted the killing carried out.

Detectives said they are investigating care home boss Dewani over the death of Dr Pox Raghavjee, 60, in 2007.

Tongo, who got 18 years for gunning down Anni, claimed Dewani told him he previously had a person murdered in the country.

Dr Raghavjee was killed by a single shot during an apparent car jacking in King Williams Town.

His half-naked body was found slumped on a gravel road a few metres from his Mercedes by a policeman.

That murder remains unsolved and the motive unclear after Dr Raghavjee’s mobile phone, watch and cash were found at the scene

Read more:

Shrien Dewani said SA police ignored him

Shrien Dewani’s family defend him
Regan Thaw | 2010/12/20 08:14:18 AM

Family and friends of Briton Shrien Dewani on Sunday claimed he tried on several occasions to get in touch with South African police to get updates on the probe into his wife’s murder but its alleged each attempt was fruitless.

’s Independent on Sunday reported that his relatives have again denied claims he masterminded Anni’s murder last month in Cape Town.
The Dewani family has rubbished the version of events Zola Tongo, the taxi driver convicted for Anni’s murder, gave authorities in his plea bargain, saying Tongo could not be believed.

Relatives said he is a self-confessed criminal with nothing to lose, adding the businessman is being made a scapegoat by South African police who are anxious to defend their reputation.

They said Dewani had tried to stay in contact with police before he left South Africa in the days after his wife’s death but apparently investigators did not make any attempt to see him again.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Shrien Dewani..images of his RADO watch that meant so much to him

The robber put the pistol to my temple and stripped my £2,000 Rado watch from my wrist. I handed him 5,000-6,000 Rand (£500) and begged him to let us both go.

Shrien Dewani...the coward

DEWANI: Golden Touch Jewellers

Honeymoon husband 'changed £1K in pawnshop on day of wife's murder'

Shrien Dewani 450 (Pic:PhilHarris)
Detectives have quizzed staff at a seedy pawnshop where South African police believe Shrien Dewani changed £1,000 in cash on the day of his wife’s murder.

Officers have quizzed staff at the Golden Touch jewellers and reckon the millionaire businessman handed over the money without showing any ID.

They say they have CCTV footage two days later showing Shrien handing cash to taxi driver Zola Tongo, 31 – allegedly to pay the hitmen who killed his new wife Anni, 28, on their honeymoon. Dewani, 30, denies any involvement in the killing.

Pawnshop staff have given police statements as well as CCTV footage of the day.

Owner Maria remembers Tongo bringing an English man in to exchange cash.

But the amount was so large she had to take it elsewhere to change. The deal lasted no more than 10 minutes.

She said: “We have lots of taxi drivers, especially over the World Cup period. He came with Tongo, who chatted with my female staff while I changed the money. I don’t remember the Englishman’s face but I remember the amount. Maybe he was wearing sunglasses but I see so many faces in a day it’s impossible to remember them.

“The girls all remember Tongo. I didn’t give a receipt. I gave him the top rate as a favour.”
Tongo was last week sentenced to 18 years in jail for murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and perverting the course of justice.

Two other men – Xolile Mnguni, 23, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 25 – face charges of murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

Dewani was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to murder Anni and is fighting extradition to South Africa from his home in Bristol after being granted bail for a £250,000 surety.

The pawnshop in Cape Town he is said to have visited is close to official currency changers.

Yesterday it was busy with local punters being buzzed in through in a metal security gate.
Asked why a millionaire tourist would come to her, Maria, in her 40s, said: “People have different reasons. Sometimes they don’t have ID with them.”

The next highest amount she could remember recently changing was £193 from an Iranian couple.

Sitting behind a kiosk, she offered a steady stream of mainly young men, cash for jewellery on a no-questions-asked basis. She said Tongo had been a regular customer, bringing small change in foreign tips that she collects and then changes with official dealers.

On the day of Anni’s murder, she said Tongo had asked to look at a bracelet but did not buy it.

Before he and the English man left she remembers Tongo asked her for his commission but she told him he could only have 10 rand as she had given the “top rate”.

The driver gave the money to one female worker while handing his phone number to another, she said. The two women were unwilling to talk to us yesterday.

Last night the Dewanis’ spokesman Max Clifford said: “Shrien asked the taxi driver where was the best place to get the best rate and it was the taxi driver who took him there. It was his decision to go there and not Shrien’s.”

A Dewani family source added: “Shrien was so in love with Anni, she was the woman of his dreams, he was smitten by her.

“Every day they would be calling each other until the early hours of the morning and again first thing when they woke up. We have phone records to prove this. He is absolutely devastated. He’s distraught.

“It was not arranged, there was no dowry or pre-nup, they just wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

“Shrien is being persecuted, not prosecuted. He is not a monkey, murderer or evil. He played no part in her murder.”