Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev's Isha Foundation, which was directed by the Karnataka High Court to disclose the amount collected for the Cauvery Calling project, filed a memo on Monday in the court stating that was not dealing with the project. The project was being dealt with by another entity named "Isha Outreach", and it should be impleaded as an additional respondent in the case, said the memo.
The memo which is filed in the high court registry has been served to the petitioner and other respondent the state government. However, the petition could not be taken up for hearing due to paucity of time.
A bench led by Chief Justice Abay Oka had pulled up the foundation headed by Guruji Jaggi Vasudev for not disclosing that the amounts are being collected voluntarily. The bench had said "If your are a spiritual organisation, do not be under the impression that you are not bound by law."
As per the memo " The issue raised in the present writ petition pertains to the project of Cauvery calling, which is entirely managed by Isha Outreach, which is a registered charitable trust. The 2nd respondent Isha Foundation is a charitable trust engaged in propogation of Yoga, meditation, etc."
The bench is hearing the petition filed by advocate A V Amarnathan, seeking directions to the foundation not to collect any funds from the public for the 'Cauvery calling project', in the interest of equity and justice.
On the previous hearing the court had also pulled up the state government for not carrying an independent inquiry on the complaints of the foundation allegedly collecting funds forcibly. Chief Justice Abhay Oka had said "When a citizen complains to you (state) that funds are being collected in the name of the state. Is it not responsibility of state to inquire."
State government has told the court that no complaint was received by it and it has not authorized the foundation to collect the money. Further, state has not allowed the foundation to carry out any work on government land.
As per the petition, the Foundation is planning to plant 253 crores tree saplings across the 639 kilometer 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 whooping sum of Rs 253 X 42 in total of Rs, 10,626 crores , which according to the petitioner is a major scam.
The plea said : "Foundation claims that it has conducted studies regarding the Cauvery Basin. But it ought to have submitted the said report to the State. And the state after deliberating the said studies should have given an approval. But no such process is carried out. The petitioner submit that no private organization can be permitted to carryout any work, on the Government land, without there being a proper approval from the state."