Posted January 11, 2007
10 January 2007
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
New discussions have recently been going on about criminal activities that took place in New Vrindavana in the 1980s. These events were thoroughly investigated by the United States Attorney's Office, which contains some of the finest attorneys in the country, and several individuals were prosecuted and convicted. The case has now been closed for almost two decades.
The GBC is not a legal or law enforcement agency. It is an ecclesiastical body that lacks the resources to match the ability of the federal government to deal with these matters. All it can do is refer such matters to the appropriate legal authorities. We can simply state below the facts of the case as we understand them:
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spent several years investigating the Sulocana case, and other serious legal problems with the New Vrindavana community. These were conducted in tandem with the United States Attorney in West Virginia.
In addition, the Los Angeles Police Department investigated the murder of Sulocana dasa as a California state case, and they also gave evidence in the federal case. Law officers from West Virginia were also involved.
There were two federal trials and a major grand jury hearing regarding Kirtanananda dasa. Tirtha dasa was also tried, both in California and West Virginia. (Kirtanananda served a lengthy prison term. Tirtha is still in prison.) These extensive government investigations and trials contained nothing to substantiate the allegations brought forward by Janmastami dasa against Radhanath Swami.
There were no charges of any kind brought against Radhanath Swami. This was despite the fact that as part of the overall investigation Radhanath Swami was interrogated by the Western Region FBI Director, LAPD investigators, federal prosecutors, and two grand juries. He was cleared by all these agencies of any involvement in wrongdoing.
A week ago, on January 3rd, 2007, Michael Stein, United States Attorney and the lead federal prosecutor for the case, after hearing the recent allegations from Janmastami dasa, stated:
"We looked at everyone in New Vrindavana, particularly those higher on the ring. Radhanath Swami could have been an influence [in this crime] but he wasn't."
Stein went on to say that there was no evidence whatsoever that Radhanath Swami had any involvement in the crime and that Radhanath Swami was never considered a defendant. When asked, he said there was no question of further investigations based on the allegations of Janmastami. US Attorney Stein concluded by saying that he personally "vouched for" Radhanath Swami's credibility.
Given the above, the GBC finds no reasons to take these allegations seriously. The GBC recommends that any person in possession of newly discovered evidence regarding the New Vrindavana events present such information to the U.S. Attorney's Office or other appropriate legal agency. If any subsequent investigation might ensue, the GBC will fully cooperate with it.
Finally, the GBC asked Radhanath Swami if he would like to make a statement regarding these allegations. He wrote:
"I do not have the time, health, or energy to get into Internet debates, and as I'm trying to be a Vaishnava, I'm reluctant to defend myself from such assaults of character.
"But for the purpose of clarification, my comments are as follows:
"In 1993 New Vrindavana community members were informed about the spiritual problems Kirtanananda Swami was having. Janmastami dasa was furious, and told me that Kirtanananda Swami was the perfect acarya, and that anything said about him was all vicious lies. He said he held me responsible for being the leader of a conspiracy against Kirtanananda Swami and that I would be "destroyed." Since then he has repeatedly threatened me and other members of the New Vrindavana community.
"As far as what Janmastami dasa has written on the Internet, every single allegation against me is totally false. I was not involved in any criminal activity.
"On a personal note, I have nothing against Janmastami Prabhu and only wish the best for him.
ISKCON GBC Executive Committee