GODMAN CRIES CONSPIRACY
Evangelist Kilari Anand Paul accuses the state government of a plot to kill him
Globetrotting evangelist K. A. Paul has accused Andhra Pradesh authorities of conspiring to declare him mad and possibly kill him. He has complained to the state human rights commission ( SHRC) of an attempt on his life that is linked to a bizarre series of events since July 14, when a doctor at Ongole prison advised that he be sent for neurological tests. This was later changed to psychiatric tests at Hyderabad’s Institute of Mental Health. Paul was in jail for allegedly murdering his brother David Raju on January 31, 2010.
After his arrest on May 21, 2012, he was taken to Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Ongole, which did not have facilities for neurological tests. He was then sent to Guntur’s Government Hospital, from where he was taken to Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, and finally to Secunderabad’s Gandhi Hospital, all within 48 hours on July 21- 22.
“There is a plot to eliminate the preacher who founded the Praja Shanti Party ( PSP), and to grab his property and vote bank. Ruling party leaders are trying to send Paul to a mental hospital or eliminate him in jail,” claims ex- minister and BJP leader Machineni Kishan Rao. “He can get the support of about 15 per cent of the state electorate and is thus seen as a rival,” says R. Yesupadam, Paul’s brother- in- law and general secretary of Paul’s evangelical mission, Global Peace Initiative. He alleges the plan to kill Paul was on since Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s ( YSR) stint as chief minister. Yesupadam also complained to SHRC that the Ongole jail superintendent had asked for a huge bribe in exchange for medical care for Paul. This allegation is now being investigated.
The apprehensions of Paul’s supporters are based on the way in which his name was included in a criminal case, more than two years after his brother Raju was murdered on January 31, 2010. Paul was arrested from a hotel in Ongole, where he was allegedly caught bribing a policeman to abduct and eliminate Koteswara Rao, the prime accused in Raju’s murder. According to Superintendent of Police K. R. Reddy, Paul had offered a policeman Rs 1 crore as bribe and paid an advance of Rs 3 lakh, but he had recorded the conversation on a spycam and informed his superiors about it. Paul is also accused of hiring Koteswara Rao to kill Raju, and of wanting to have Rao killed after he apparently started to blackmail Paul.
“Paul’s arrest in the run- up to the recent bypolls leads to suspicions of foul- play,” says Kishan Rao. A harried Paul approached the high court for bail. On July 27, it granted him bail in the Koteswara Rao case, though it’s yet to give its decision on his bail plea in the Raju murder case. “His name was dragged into the murder case to condemn him as mad, when none have noticed in him any kind of mental instability,” argues Yesupadam.
Paul, 49, who converted from Hinduism at the age of eight, is an extraordinary evangelist. He has blessed heads of state, rubbed shoulders with world leaders, and travelled to 148 countries in a Boeing 747 called Global Peace One. His decline began in 2005 when the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability ended his mission’s membership for oversight and lack of transparency, and the Southern Baptist Convention issued a vote of no confidence in it. By that time, there were allegations that he spends more on fuel for his plane than on orphans, and that he takes credit for other people’s work.
Finding the going tough, Paul entered politics by floating PSP in 2009. This was against YSR’s liking, as much for Paul’s dubious credentials and ability to split Christian votes, as for his allegation that YSR had demanded Rs 20 crore from him for poll funds in 2009. This followed YSR ordering an inquiry into allegations of land grab by Paul to build the 1,000 acre Gospel to the Unreached Millions City or Charity City in Medak district, estimated to be worth hundreds of crores.
As Paul’s alleged wrongdoings surfaced, those levelling charges included his brother Raju, who had by then wrested control of Charity City. Nursing that grouse even after he regained control of his pet project, Paul had allegedly got him killed, from when his life went on a tailspin.
EVANGELIST K. A. PAUL