Bengaluru, Mar 8 (ILNS) The Karnataka High Court today directed the state government to make its stand clear on whether it was willing to make an inquiry into the allegations on Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation of collecting money in ‘Cauvery Calling,’ while claiming it to be a state project.
The Division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty asked, “Now, are you willing to hold an inquiry to ascertain whether any money was collected by projecting that this is a project of the Government of Karnataka? Are you willing to hold an inquiry?”
‘Cauvery Calling’ was a project of Isha foundation/Isha Outreach and not of the Karnataka government. The Government of Karnataka is neither funding this project, nor providing government land/private land for the same, the government Counsel said.
The clarification was issued by the state government, after the Court passed repeated directions to make its stand very clear on the question on whether the state government has any connection with the project of Cauvery Calling and whether the second and third respondents (Isha Foundation/Isha Outreach) were involved in the project of the state government.
The Advocate appearing for Isha Outreach submitted a memo, stating that it has published on its website a statement saying that the Cauvery Calling project is an initiative of Isha Outreach.
The Government Counsel replied that the state has issued the clarification that it is not a project of the state government.
“Now you have done it…when the State Government after so many orders passed has taken a stand, they (Respondents) also have taken a stand belatedly that the project is not of the state government. Now you make a statement and put an end to the Petition. Appoint an officer and hold an inquiry whether at any stage either by respondent 2 or respondent 3 collected money by projecting it as a project of the state government”, the bench said.
The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by Advocate A V Amarnathan in 2019.
As per the petition, the Foundation is planning to plant 253 crore tree saplings across the 639-km stretch of Cauvery river bank from its birth place Talacauvery to Thiruvarur. The Foundation is said to be collecting Rs 42 per tree planting from the public. That means it is collecting a whopping sum of Rs 10,626 crores, which according to the petitioner, is a major scam.
The Court directed the registry to record the Affidavit filed by the state government, giving the clarification and posted the matter for further hearing on March 24. ILNS/SNG/JR