ED grills Kriya Yoga Ashram head Shankarananda Giri for 8 hrs

Bhubaneswar: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday interrogated controversial godman and head of Kriya Yoga Ashram and founder of the Prabhujee English Medium School Swami Shankarananda Giri for eight hours in connection with his overseas financial transactions here.

Reports said the Assistant Director and Joint Director of ED began interrogation of Swami after he arrived at the ED office in the morning.

Reliable sources said the Swami was asked about the management of overseas funds for his Kriya Yoga Ashram: how much amount of foreign funds the Kriya Yoga has received, which funding agencies have given the money to the Ashram, how the funding was utilised and whether the Ashram has paid income tax against the amount it has received from the overseas agencies.

Danish national Allen Franklin Nielsen had filed an FIR against Shakarananda in the Sahid Nagar police station here in 2010 accusing Giri of duping him of Rs 2 crore.

In his complaint, Nielsen had claimed that he had given 3,20,000 euros, (about Rs 2 crore), in phases over the last 10 years (between 2000 and 2010) either through bank or in cash after the Swami convinced him that he would return double the amount in two years.

He said the Swami had also signed an agreement with him in this regard but had not paid back the whole amount thus violating the terms of the agreement.

Giri had returned only 58,000 euros till February 23, 2010 in some instalments. Instead of paying back the rest amount, the Swami was threatening him with dire consequences, he had alleged.

Shankarananda had been visiting his country since 1991 and teaching Kriya Yoga, Nielsen said adding he had given him the money as per his request for running schools and building a temple in India.

Instead of investing the money in the development of the school, the Swami has invested the money to purchase property across the country and made a huge profit out of it, Nielsen had stated in his complaint.