India Still Studying Goods Confiscated From Youthful Guru

NEW DELHI, July 17 (Reuters) - The Government is still investigating the seizure of undeclared goods worth more than $80,000 from a 15-year-old Indian guru when he arrived here last November, officials here report.

Those concerned with the investigation are not willing to discuss the case or even say how far the inquiry has progressed.

The airport customs bureau had announced after the arrival of the gurgu Balyogeshwar Guru Maharaj Ji, head of the Divine Light Mission, that it had seized foreign currency, traveler's checks, a necklace and a cache of watches.

Customs officials served notices on him, his secretary and a follower, Miss Joan Apter, asking them why the seized goods should not be confiscated and a case opened against them.

The guru, who is recently reported to have been presented with a gold-plated Rolls-Royce by his followers in Britain, denied any illegality.

According to the mission, the goods seized did not belong to the guru but had been deposited with the "Divine Bank" by followers who flew to New Delhi in a fleet of chartered jumbo jets for a religious festival. The mission now says that the guru's name had been cleared and he is no longer involved in the case.

Last year some Opposition members of the Indian Parliament accused the Government of shielding the guru - the term means "teacher" - and the Government gave assurances that the inquiry was still on.

Copyright The New York Times
Originally published July 18, 1973