The Dark Side of Chief Minister Wigneswaran Former Justice of the Supreme Court
There is a proverb in the English language “ Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are…” meaning find wise people and be in their company as much as possible. Very few know the dark side of Chief Wigneswaran. Or they know but feign ignorance. In an interview M.A. Sumanthiran alluded that Wigneswaran is a devotee of Swamy Premamnanda who was convicted of raping underaged orphan girls living in his Ashram and murder of a young engineer Ravi. All the victims of Premananda’s sexual exploits were young girls from Jaffna who followed Premananda when he emigrated to Tamil Nadu following the 1983 communal riots. Even the murdered young engineer too hailed from Jaffna.
Premananda was born on November 17, 1951, at Mandandawela in Matala. His real name is Premkumar Somasunderam but later took the name Premananda meaning one possessed with love and eternal bliss. Premananda’s father Somasunderam hailed from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu and married Pushpakanthi. He attended Christ Church College in Matala until 8th standard. The house he was born is still there after undergoing renovation.
His biography reveals that as a young schoolboy Premkumar (his original name) could manifest sweets or fruits out of nowhere for his friends, and he became renowned in his school for multiplying his lunch food, for holding erudite discussions on philosophical subjects, and even for performing miraculous healings. Knowing that he could immediately see anyone’s problems and infallibly predict their future, the parents of his friends became the boy’s first devotees before he reached adolescence. As news of his powers spread, hundreds of people in Sri Lanka began to seek his blessings and healings.
At the age of 16, after Premananda had conducted ceremonies and interviews in his grandmother’s house for several years, a small ashram was donated to welcome the crowds of people who flocked to see him. Named the ‘Centre of Peace for All Religions’, with symbols of every major faith painted on inside walls, it was a prime target for the mass religious and racial riots that erupted throughout Sri Lanka in 1983.
In 1969 while he was addressing some 200 devotees who had gathered to listen, his body began to glow and an ochre-coloured robe suddenly seemed to descend onto him. The saffron- or ochre-coloured garb is that of an initiated monk. At the time he was only 18 years old but from then onwards he became known as Swami Premananda. He materialised holy ash or vibhuti would often manifest around him as a baby, and as a toddler, he soon exhibited an unusual interest in spirituality. While his brothers and sisters played outside, Premananda could be found performing puja (rituals) with his grandmother or facing a wall in a corner absorbed in deep meditation, even at the age of four. It is said that if he thought too much about the divine or the lives of saints, he would fall into an unconscious state of rapture.
In 1983 Premananda’s modest Ashram was destroyed during 1983 communal pogrom, so he emigrated to Tamil Nadu with some orphan children and settled down in Thiruchi. There his name became famous, next only to another godman Sai Bava, for materialising objects like lingam, rings, chains and even watches made in Japan. He bought 150 acres of land at Viralimalai, Thiruchi and set up an Ashram and an orphanage. The ashram was officially opened in 1989. The orphanage caters for approximately 200 orphans. Here all the children are provided with food, clothing, shelter, schooling and medical attention free of charge. Premananda’s Ashram flourished and he set up a Premananda Centres and Premananda Youth Groups in many countries, including UK, Switzerland, Belgium. The aim of the Ashram, Centres and Groups is to offer spiritual guidance and help to all who come and to offer service to those in need throughout the world. Swamiji’s teachings are universal and transcend the barriers of race and religion.
Many educated fools mistook him as a god incarnation and became his followers. One of them is ex-Supreme Court justice and current Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council Wigneswaran who considers him as his supreme guru.
Many would have observed that whenever Wigneswaran starts speaking he first pays homage to his guru whom he considers as Guru of Gurus. :”‘குருப்பிரமா, குரூர் விஷ்ணு, குரூர் தேவோ மகேஷ் வரஹ, குருட் ஷாட்ஷாத் பரப்பிரம தஸ்மை ஸ்ரீ குருவே நமஹா! (Homage to Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshwaraha Guru sakshat Parabrahma tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha.). This is a Sanskrit recital paying homage to the Trinity of Hindu Gods—Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the protector and Maheshwara, the destroyer. “You are my preceptor,” it states, “And I revere your name.”
Premananda associates this recital with Guru Poornima day, a day to remember the saints, sages, avatars and spiritual masters who guide us on the spiritual path and who have been born on this earth from the time the world was created. On this day which comes once in 365 days, let us think about those great souls and in our minds chant, “Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devor Maheshwaraha” and think of the Supreme who is the Guru of Gurus. Then think of the spiritual master you have accepted as your Guru and chant his or her name nine times. Furthermore, accepting a spiritual master as your Guru may be your wish, but if that Guru, too, accepts you, it will be your great, good fortune. Guru Purinima is the day to remind us of that fortuneIt goes without saying Wigneswaran’s spiritual master is Premananda and this recital is a homage to him.
Till 1993 Premananda’s fame and name rivalled that of only Sai Bava of Puttaparthi in terms of wealth and followers, including foreigners! It was claimed he is a reincarnation of a great and very learned scholar and sage Vivekananda. In fact, some of his devotees called Premananda Thiruchi Sai Bava by his devotees. With the AIADMK coming to power in 1991, the Ashram gained enormous political clout. Apart from various Ministers, Jayalalitha’s foster sister, Sasikala Natarajan (now a convict and in jail for corruption) and her family were regular visitors here. However, few knew about the goings-on in the ashram—seduction, molestation, rape and debauchery—till November 1994. The issue was brought to public attention by the Women’s Wing of the CPI(M) when some of the inmates managed to escape and reach the local office of the Left party.
The stillness of the Ashram was shattered on 19th November 1994 when a battalion of police officers with machine guns raided the ashram in armoured vehicles. Premananda was arrested and remanded to judicial custody the next day. His associate Kamalananda and his wife Dr Chandra Devi were also lodged in the Thiruchy Central Jail for abetting sex-related crimes and for performing the crude medical termination of pregnancies of their victims. Subsequent investigations revealed the murder of a Sri Lankan engineer, Ravi, who had opposed the activities at the ashram. He was tortured for a few days before being killed. The police exhumed his body on November 24, 1994. The same day, it also seized documents, fixed deposit receipts worth Rs 75 lakh and details of other investments. They found that Premananda was among the top tax defaulters with arrears of Rs 1.5 crore.
Rapist Premananda told his victims that sex with the swami was “service to God”. The court also noted that some of the girls had been threatened with dire consequences and that some of the victims were below the age of consent (16 at the time of trial) when they were raped. Jethmalani also said that the trial was unfair because witnesses and the accused have been subjected to police brutality.
The murder victim’s remains were found buried on the ashram premises and were presented as evidence.
Even as the police started its investigation, the ashram witnesses a steady exodus of the foreigners. Divya Mathaji, Premananda’s girlfriend and the inmate in charge, fled the country to Germany and later to France. Assets worth Rs 80 lakh in her name was frozen. During the early stages of the investigation, Premananda was confident that his friends in the ruling AIADMK would save him from the long arm of law. Indeed, the police were asked to go slow in the case. However, with the change in government, the investigations were resumed in right earnest.
The First Information Report, which is the primary stage of complaint by an alleged victim that a criminal offence has taken place, was extraordinarily submitted after the story had been given to the press. The first newspaper article had appeared on 5th November 1994, but Suresh Kumari only filed the complaint with the police on 17th November 1994, accusing Swami Premananda of raping her 8 years previously.
On 19th and 20th November, many people were taken away from the Ashram by the police for investigation and inquiries. In total 20 girls and young women (aged between 14 and 35) were taken away for interrogation.
In January 1995, a medical examination ordered by the court confirmed the rape of 13 girls and one of them Aruljothy was pregnant at that time. Aruljothy sought court permission to abort the foetus. To prove medically that Premananda was raping the girls, a foetus aborted from Aruljothi, in January 1995 and examined by a forensic scientist for the prosecution, Dr Lalji Singh. The prosecution stated that his DNA findings showed that Premananda was the father of this foetus. Since then, Dr. Singh has given evidence in two other similar, highly suspicious, forensic examinations.
The Defence called a DNA expert from the United Kingdom, Dr Wilson J. Wall a specialist in genetics. The results of his test, done according to international DNA standards (which were not used by Dr Singh), gave a contradictory statement and proved beyond doubt that Swami Premananda had not fathered this foetus. Dr Wall’s test results and the scientific explanations given by him were not even considered by the Court. Dr Wall’s report to the Court concluded.
The dead body of the young engineer Ravi was exhumed from the Ashram and a post-mortem carried out confirmed he was killed by blows to his head and other parts of the body.
To cut the story short, on 20th August, 1997 after a lengthy trial the Pudukottai district sessions judge, R. Bhanumathi (currently Justice of the Supreme Court of India) in a landmark judgement, sentenced self-styled Swami Premananda to life imprisonment for two terms (32 years) and levied on him a fine of Rs 67.30 lakh for 13 counts of rape, molestations of two girles and a murder. Failure to pay the fine was to carry an additional term of 32 years and 9 months. He was also convicted of cheating the residents of his ashram, which carried another one-year sentence. Six others (all from Jaffna) were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit rapes and destroying evidence. Five were given life sentences. In view of the severity of the crimes, the judge denied them any future remission of their sentences or amnesty by any state or central government.
Premananda’s appeal to the Maddras High Court proved futile. In January 2000, the Madras High Court ordered that Rs. 36.4 lakhs from Premananda’s frozen accounts should be placed in a fixed deposit for three years and the resulting interest should be paid to the victims as compensation.
On 5th April 2005, the Supreme Court of India upheld the conviction by the District Court of Pudukkoddai and Madras High Court that Premananda’s ‘double-life’ sentence for murder, rape and conspiracy will run consecutively without further appeal. The appeal was argued by the well known criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani a much sought after lawyer by murderers, rapists, swindlers and con-men. According to Indian newspapers and tabloid magazines he is the most despicable criminal in the history of Tamil Nadu state. Yet, on 20th November 2005, Premananda Ashram celebrated his 54th birthday while he lay guarded 300 km away on a hospital bed in Chennai. Two days later, there was little to celebrate, it was the anniversary of Premananda’s 11th year in prison.
The Madras High Court rejected a habeas corpus petition, keeping in view the recommendations of the district sessions judge at the time of conviction and the previous Supreme Court order. On 26 June 2010, however, the same court accepted Premananda’s petition requesting a three-month parole to undergo medical treatment.
The Supreme Court Justices in Delhi branded Premananda a “devil” and a “monster”, even going beyond their powers to forbid any remission of his sentence or amnesty. The court also heard that in some cases the consent was obtained by deceit, such as promising a cure for ailments such as asthma or by saying that sex with the swami was “service to God”. The court also noted that some of the girls had been threatened with dire consequences and that some of the victims were below the age of consent (16 at the time of trial) when they were raped.
One of many witnesses for the defence was none other than Wigneswaran the former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. After hearing his evidence the court dubbed him as a “wishful thinker”, but Wigneswaran continued to question not only the deplorable infringements of human rights but the manifest injustices taking place in the Indian legal system. His international followers, however, continue to fight for justice and maintain that Swami Premananda is an incarnation of divinity, an Avatar on a par with the greatest saints, and a being of the highest purity who However, his international followers, including Wigneswaran, fight for justice and maintain that Swami Premananda is an incarnation of divinity, an Avatar on a par with the greatest saints, and a supreme being of the highest purity and divine. It beats oneès imagination how a learned ex-judge of the Supreme Court still believes Premananda is innocent and recently he compared Premananda to Jesus Christ both claiming to be innocent but wrongly convicted.
In an interview Wigneswaran gave to a Tamil website called Thinappuyal about his close relationship with Premananda who was convicted for the rape of underage girls and murder of a youth, Wigneswaran responding in Tamil claimed that Jesus Christ was also convinced 2,000 years ago but people are worshipping him now as God” he said in Tamil.
The You tube posted on the web by “Thinappuyal” (Daily Storm) showed the interviewer asking Mr. Wigneswaran about his being a Premananda devotee and whether it was correct to be a devotee of a man convicted as a criminal and rapist by the courts. The ex-supreme court judge responded to the question by saying Jesus Christ was convicted 2,000 years ago but people were worshipping him now as God. Mr Wigneswaran re-iterated his point about Jesus Christ by saying again in Tamil “Avar oru Kuttravaali. Avarukku Marana Thandanai Theerkkappattathu. Aen Innum Kireesthavargal Avarai Iraivanaahap Paarkkiraargal”? (He was a criminal. He was convicted and given a death sentence. Why are Christians still seeing him as God”? Following, the outburst of Wigneswaran faced criticism from Christians both lay and priests, but it quickly died down.
In November, 2015 Wigneswaran took part in prayers at Premananda Ashram in Fatima Nagar in Thiruchy. He went to Tamil Nadu to deliver the Kannabiran memorial lecture. He stayed in a cottage at the ashram and offered early morning prayers at Siva temple in the ashram premises. According to ashram authorities, Wigneswaran visits the ashram every year and is a staunch devotee of Premananda. Strangely no one raised the question why the Chief Minister who is a public official visited a place where orphan girls as young as 13 years old were seriailly raped by a devil and a monster. The deafening silence of Tamil women and the media were frightening.
Chief Minister’s adoration for rapist and murderer Premananda is scandalous and repugnant. He has built a temple at Puliyasnkulam ostensibly for ambal but has installed the statue of Premananda in a prominent place along with other Hindu gods. . A Hindu Brahmin priest performs poojas three times a day. Wigneswaran also celebrates poornima day in Colombo for his guru Premananda every year.
On March 14, 2015 Chief Minister told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he was forwarding documents sent by one K.Sivathy, daughter of R. Kamalananda, convict No: 4220 “Since the girl’s father and mother hail from our (Northern) province, I take the liberty of forwarding the said documents for your kind consideration. Mr.Ram Jethmalani who is known to me, is fully aware of the false case filed,” Wigneswaran said. The documents, addressed to Modi, were signed by immediate family members of the convicts R. Kamalananda; S. Balendra; S. Sathishkumar; and S. Nandakumar. The convicts’ relations claimed that a “travesty of justice” had taken place. And with the Indian Supreme Court confirming the sentence, release had become “impossible”. Pleading for Modi’s good offices to get them released, they said: “ Our dear ones have been in prison for more than 20 years now. The best years of their lives are gone and our lives have also been affected very much. It might be noted Sir, that they are not convicted for any positive act of crime but for abetment only.”
When questioned by Council Members, Wigneswaran wriggled out of the situation by saying it was not a letter, but merely an edorsement to a letter addressed to Prime Minister Modi by the relatives of the convicts. But the fact remains he used the official letter head of the Borthern Provincial Council in which he claims the case against Premananda and others was “false” and “Ram Jethmalani knows it.” This is an insult to the judges of all three courts who found Premananda and others guilty by someone who sat as a Justice in the Supreme Court of Ceylon!
Premananda’s global l followers, however, continue to maintain that Premananda is an embodiment of divinity, an Avatar on a par with the greatest saints, and a being of the highest purity who embodies powers beyond the knowledge of science. “I am also being tested by God,” Premananda said after his arrest. “As a result, I am sure that I will be made known to all humanity.”
According to Indian newspapers and tabloid magazines, he is the most despicable criminal in the history of Tamil Nadu state, but according to Premananda’s innumerable supporters, including Chief Minister Wigneswaran, ” the charges against case is a scandalous miscarriage of justice that is bound to shake the conscience of the world. It is a case, some say, of the deepest extremes: of good against evil, of sinners against saints, and of a symbol for man’s eternal struggle for righteousness and truth.”
Godmen do extraordinarily well in India than in most others, and that is where the puzzle lies. Premananda is not the only villain in the business of exploiting the weak and the gullible. There are other discredited godmen in India who ended in jail accused mostly for murder and sexual exploits of their devotees.
Hindu scriptures psychologically soften the mind and make followers to be more prone to magic. The Vedas and Epics urges people how the gods must be pleased with libations and lavish praise, to win wars, beget sons, and acquire immeasurable wealth. While other religions frighten devotees with religious wrath, Hindu texts instead take the route of pleasing their gods who are always open to persuasion. Here is a list of top god-men who have been exposed as murderers and rapists. Indians are ridiculously superstitious in believing that bad karma register gets wiped clean by going on pilgrimage and taking a dip in a holy river, breaking coconuts, offering fruits, milk, donations for happiness and performing penance etc.etc. People are desperately looking for some kind of hope or optimism that can rescue them out of their poverty or worries. And fake godmen take undue advantage of this fact.
(1) Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan is the head of the Sera Sacha Sauda sect has 2 murder charges against him.
(2) Jayendra Saraswathi of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peedam was accused of murdering a temple manager Sankararaman. He was acquitted when witnesses went back on their evidence.
(3) Asaram Babu was arrested in 2013 after a 16-year old girl accused of him of sexually assaulting her at his Jodhpur Ashram. He along with his son Narayan Sai, has been accused of being involved in the mysterious deaths of two boys who were studying in his ashram.
(4) Sant Rampal. On 18 November 2004, the Haryana police found the bodies of five women and an 18-month-old child at his Satlok ashram in Hisar where they had gone to arrest him in regard to another case. Sant Rampal had earlier been jailed for 22 months after he was charged with the murder of a man.
(5) Chandraswami is alleged to have been involved in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. . An income-tax raid on Chandraswami’s ashram reportedly uncovered drafts of payments, totaling $11 million, paid to arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. In 1996, he was arrested on charges of defrauding a London-based businessman of $100,000, and in June 2011, the Supreme Court fined him Rs 9 crore for violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.
(6) Paramahamsa Nithyananda was arrested and spent 52 days in jail in 2010 after a leaked video showed him engaged in sexual activities with Tamil actress Ranjitha. Both Nithyananda and Ranjitha insisted that the video was morphed, a claim that was later proven by a confession by the ex-COO of Sun TV. However, in 2012, Indian-born American citizen Arthi Rao claimed that he had raped her for several years.
(7) Santhosh Madhavan alias Swami Amrita Chaitanya was sentenced to 16 years of rigorous imprisonment and a penalty of Rs 2,10,000 in 2009. A year earlier, he was with the rapes of three minor girls and a 22-year-old woman, making pornographic videos, financial fraud and possession of narcotics. He had also been arrested by Interpol in March 2008 for duping an NRI woman of Rs 45 lakh.
(8) Gnyanachaitanya was convicted of three murders and spent 14 years in jail. After his release, he met a British family and convinced them that their daughter Amanda was his ‘wife’ in a previous birth. He then sexually abused and physically tortured her for years. After she escaped and complained to her parents and the police, Gnyanachaitanya was arrested again.
(9) Sreehari, also known by the name of Ganga Shashwatapada Swamy has allegedly been continuously raped a woman for several years. The woman chopped off his private parts to resist a recent sexual attack. He is a resident of an ashram in Kollam district of Kerala and has been admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.
On 16 November 2014, Swami Premananda’s birth anniversary was observed by his devotees at the residence of C. V. Wigneswaran in Colombo.
On 22nd February, a Premananda International Conference was held at ICTAD auditorium in Colombo with over 200 devotees both local and foreign participating in several programmes organized by the Battaramulla and Colombo centres. The theme of the conference was “Swamy Premananda- A Living Force for Unity”. Dr A.T Ariyaratne, founder of the Sarvodaya Movement was the Chief Guest and attended by Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M Swaminathan and Chief Minister Justice C.V Wigneswaran were the guests of honour.
Cheif Minister Wigneswaran in his wisdom has installed a statue of this “despicable criminal” at the Poobalakrishna Temple at Puliyankulam. This temple was ceremoniously opened on 26th February 2015 with much pomp and fanfare by Premananda’s international devotees. (See …..http://sripremananda.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/1505_EN_pav.pdf /http://www.omlanka.net/faith/1096-krishna-statue-installed-in-puliyankulam-premananda-ashram.html) A Hindu Brahmin priest performs poojas three times a day.
While being held in Cuddalore Central Prison, the jail authorities shifted Premananda to a government hospital for treatment. He obtained permission from the court for treatment in a private hospital. He died at Global Hospital on 21st February 2011 of acute liver failure, . Earlier, he had developed an acute infection that led to end-stage liver disease, according to doctors. But his health condition progressively deteriorated. Doctors withdrew his name from the cadaver organ registry as he went into a multi-organ failure.
Until his death, he continued to maintain he was innocent. His disciple Chief Minister Wigneswaran also loudly claims godman Premananda is innocent and the case against him was false!
This then is the other side – the dark side of Chief Minister Wigneswaran former Justice of the Supreme Court.