Posted October 2, 2013 by Ketaki Latkar in the Pune Mirror: Former trustees and petitioners question sale proceeds from book titles translated in over 65 languages, audio and video recordings, worth Rs 60 crore.
It may be a battle for property and money for those who produced Osho’s will 23 years after the death of the spiritual guru, but for former trustees Yogesh Thakkar alias Swami Premgeet and Kishor Raval alias Swami Prem Anadi, the fight goes beyond.
In their writ petition before the Bombay High Court (filed in June this year), they have contended that the overseas trustees have been making unauthorised changes to Osho’s printed discourses and preaching, tampering with his spiritual legacy and public faith.
Photo: Mahendra Kolhe
The petition also questions the very identity of the entities set up in London and Zurich in the name of Osho International Foundation (OIF), misleading people to believe they are an extension of the Pune-based OIF headquarters.
Besides the Rs 300-crore property, at stake are the sale proceeds from 650 book titles translated in over 65 languages globally, more than 9,000 hours of audio recordings of Osho’s talks, over 1,800 hours of video recordings and Osho’s paintings, estimated at Rs 60 crore over the past 10 years.
Petitioners Yogesh Thakkar (L) and Kishor Raval; (above) the Osho International Meditation Centre in Koregaon Park
Photo: Mahendra Kolhe
“There are no accounts or records of the money being deposited by the overseas foundations to the Pune headquarters. No one knows where the money is. It is such a pity,” Thakkar told Mirror.
While the overseas OIFs have claimed that the intellectual property rights (IPR) were transferred to the Zurich foundation in the 1980s, the veracity of this transfer is being questioned by the petitioners. “Legalese for such IPR transfer from one trust to another requires all trustees of the transferring trust to be signatories in the agreement.
“In the absence of all the trustees signing such a document the entire transaction becomes void-ab-initio (invalid from the very beginning),” informed Shreedhar Parundekar, IP and Technology Laws specialist.
The writ petition has pointed out that only one of the eight trustees has signed the critical document. On this basis, it has urged that the OIFs in Switzerland and UK have no authority to store, sell and retain proceeds out Osho’s IP work.
“The overseas OIFs have already lost an eight-year trademark and patent battle at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The trustees of these foundations are aware they have no locus standi even in the present writ petition on the IPR and other transfer of property issues.
So, now they have come up with a fabricated will, which was never mentioned in the 23 years gone by since Osho’s demise,” Kishor Raval pointed out.
The petition also pinned one of the current trustees of OIF, Pune, Mukesh Sarda, for printing and publishing about 16 of Osho’s books using private publishers, giving away copyrights to them.
On being asked about this Sarda said, “There is nothing I can say about the ongoing litigation. The matter is subjudice.”
The petition has also drawn the court’s attention to what it called an arbitrary donation of a part of the land (estimated to be worth Rs 50 crore) at the Osho ashram at Pune to one Darshan Trust. With two hearings of the case done, the next one is coming up on 8th October.