Wed., June 18, 1975 GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE 13

Guru won't return to India, aide says

Associated Press Writer

DENVER (AP) -- Guru Maharaj Ji will not return to India where he is charged with jumping bail from a suit in the family feud over control of the religious group, a spokesman said Tuesday.

A magistrate in Jaipur, India, issued a warrant Monday for the 17-year-old leader of the Divine Light Mission charging that he failed to appear in court to answer charges he tried to defame his brother, Bhagwan Ji.

The two brothers have been fighting in the courts for about three months over who heads the religious organization and the six million followers it claims worldwide.

Joe Anctil, press secretary to Maharaj Ji at the mission's world headquarters here, said the suit filed against Maharaj Ji at Jaipur "is the same suit that was thrown out by the judge in New Delhi."

Anctil said no bond was posted on the court appearance by Maharaj Ji and the magistrate there agreed at court hearing that Maharaj Ji would not have to appear at any other court actions.

Guru Maharaj Ji is confident the suit in Jaipur will be dismissed when it reaches a higher court "as the other suits in New Delhi were," Anctil said.

In India, the magistrate ordered forfeiture of a bond of 10,000 rupees - about $1,254 - because Maharaj Ji did not appear for the court hearing. Anctil said the bond could have been posted by Maharaj Ji's followers there since they took responsibility for the guru in that court case.

Maharaj Ji and Bhagwan Ji brought a series of defamation suits and countersuits against each other in April and May. They appeared in a New Delhi court together May 23 and told the judge they would accept his suggestion that they drop their suits and settle their dispute outside the courts.

The disputes began when the guru's mother said she was removing Maharaj as head of the mission because he had become a "playboy" rather than a holy man and had taken up western ways including an American wife.

Bhagwan Ji, 24, was named as the new guru of the mission by the mother. The mission was founded by the gurus' father in 1961 and Maharaj Ji was named the head of the mission when the father died.

Anctil said the court appearance that Maharaj Ji is accused of bail jumping was set the day after Maharaj Ji left India en route to the United States and his home at Malibu, Calif. The hearing was set for Monday.

"This is just a harassment suit, like the others in New Delhi," Anctil said.