GOD­MAN CRIES CON­SPIR­ACY

Evan­ge­list Ki­lari Anand Paul ac­cuses the state gov­ern­ment of a plot to kill him

India Today - - NATION - by Amarnath K. Menon

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.

K BHASKAR

EVAN­GE­LIST K. A. PAUL

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