India-born religious guru's organisation under probe

© Hindustan Times Ltd. 2003.

Newspaper Article re Prem Rawat aka Guru Maharaj Ji

The following article appeared in the Hindustan Times - UK edition.

Newspaper Article re Prem Rawat aka Guru Maharaj Ji

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 | Updated: 15:46 GMT

India-born religious guru's organisation under probe

Nabanita Sircar
London, June 18

An inquiry has been launched into an organisation linked with Prem Rawat, an Indian-born self-claimed Guru Maharaj ji. The Charity Commission has confirmed that it is investigating Elan Vital, the UK-registered charity that was set up in 1997.

Rawat, from Bristol, was called a motivational speaker when he addressed two sell-out crowds at the Colston Hall at the weekend. Until a few years ago Rawat was the head of the Divine Light Mission. He was once called Lord of the Universe by followers who lined up to kiss his feet.

But it was a former follower of his who got suspicious of certain irregularities. Andrew Carpenter, 48, whose name has been changed on his request, spent three months investigating Elan Vital before making a submission to the Charity Commission this month. He alleges that between 1996 and 2002, Elan Vital gifted more than £4.5 million in grant aid to organisations in Switzerland, America and Australia, all exempt from providing public statements on their activities and spending. He claims that Elan Vital fails to meet its stated objectives as an educational charity.

Carpenter from South Bristol, said: "I find it difficult to understand how initial registration was granted."

A Charity Commission spokesman said: "We have received a complaint about the administration and status of the charity which will be given our full consideration."

Elan Vital is yet to make any comment.